Sugar Industry Representatives Meet to Discuss Farm Bill Options
Last Monday in Chicago, IDFA joined more than 90 representatives from all sectors of the sugar industry for an historic meeting to discuss U.S. sugar program options in preparation for the 2007 Farm Bill. The Sweetener Users Association (SUA) suggested the meeting, which was the first of its kind in the sugar industry.
Clay Hough, IDFA's senior vice president and general counsel who also serves as SUA treasurer, attended the meeting and stressed the need for sugar policy reform.
"Sugar is a major manufacturing cost for our members who make ice cream and flavored milks, and we're eager to work toward a federal sugar program that will be market oriented and transparent," Hough said. "The extreme volatility in the sugar market and current extended period of high prices are a direct result of a federal sugar program that isn't working and needs to be fixed."
During the meeting, both sugar producers and a variety of food and beverage processors agreed that a strong and healthy sugar industry in the United States would benefit all participants. They also agreed that developing a unified position on a new sugar program in preparation for the 2007 Farm Bill would provide a solid foundation for progress.
Some divisions arose, however, as participants discussed the existing U.S. sugar program. While the sugar users were united in their belief that the current program needs to be reformed, the response from producers and growers was mixed. Most companies in the producer community supported the continuation of the current program, but some acknowledged the need for reform and indicated their willingness to work with the users to develop appropriate changes.
As a next step, a smaller group of representatives will continue these discussions, focusing on reform ideas that will help the entire industry.
"IDFA looks forward to participating directly in the process, which we hope will ultimately result in a more workable sugar program for our members," Hough said.
For more information, contact Hough at email@example.com or 202-220-3516.
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Posted July 24, 2006