Thursday, May 23, 2013

Senate keeps sweet deal for sugar growers

In what some critics are calling a sweet deal for sugar growers and a bad deal for consumers, the Senate Wednesday voted against a farm-bill amendment that would lower the price-support level of sugar from 18.75 cents per pound to 18 cents, reports David Rogers for Politico. The amendment had been pushed by candy makers, conservative activists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"The sugar program stands out as one of the most intrusive of the commodity programs still on the books: a mix of price supports, import quotas, and since 2008, a feedstock program under which sugar can be purchased by the government to be used in biofuels," reports Rogers. Prices for sugar this week "ran at least a penny per pound above the price supports."

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), whose state is a major producer of sugar beets, said “We forget that this is much bigger than a sugar program. It’s much bigger than any one single commodity. My concern is when you single out one commodity, whether it’s soybeans, corn or sugar or tobacco or rice, when you single out one commodity, you threaten the effectiveness of the overall Farm Bill." (Read more)

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