Tuesday May 14, 2013
No Joy In Senate Farm Bill Markup
Washington — No provisions regarding sugar reform were included in today’s Senate Farm Bill markup.
The Senate Agriculture Committee’s decision was decried by the Coalition for Sugar Reform (CSR), calling it ”another missed opportunity to reform the costly federal sugar program.“
CSR Chair and NCA President Larry Graham says: “Given cuts to other commodity programs, it is both perplexing and outrageous that the farm bill — referred to as the 'reform' bill — is headed to the Senate floor with zero reforms to the costly Depression-era U.S. sugar program, one of the oldest and most wasteful federal farm subsidy programs.”
Although the markup will not facilitate action against the sugar policy, the Coalition expects legislators to introduce a reform amendment during next week's Senate debate.
Graham adds: “We're not calling on Congress to repeal the sugar program, but we are asking members to enact commonsense reforms that would provide economic relief to American consumers and businesses negatively impacted by our nation's outdated sugar policy.”
Reforming the policy would eliminate the Feedstock Flexibility Program, which requires the government to purchase excess sugar from processors and sell it to ethanol producers at a loss, eliminate high price support levels, reform domestic supply restrictions and provide flexibility to the USDA when administering quotas.
Both CSR and the NCA members is in Washington this week to encourage legislators to adopt a sugar reform program and the Association urges all of its members to write and/or email Congress to incline them to reform the sugar policy.