Senators seek sugar reform, growers caution rations

Published online: May 22, 2013

Illinois Sen. Ron Kirk (R) and two Senate colleagues Jeanne Shaheen (D) of New Hampshire and Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania are introducing a sugar reform amendment they say contains common sense reforms for the U.S. sugar program.

They want to amend the Senate farm bill to roll back what they call "unnecessary provisions that unfairly benefit wealthy sugar farmers at the expense of consumers."

The measure was introduced earlier this year as a standalone bill that they say has bipartisan support.

Kirk says the sugar program is outdated and broken and manufacturing jobs are being lost all over the country. He says Illinois risks losing its status as the "Candy Capitol of the World" because current policy "artificially inflates the price of sugar." Illinois candy/confectionary companies employ more than 3,000 people.

Meanwhile, the American Sugar Alliance sent a personalized replica of a 1942 sugar ration coupon to every Congressional office on Tuesday "to remind lawmakers about the consequences of again becoming dependent on foreign sugar supplies."

ASA Chairman Ryan Weston explained that sugar was the first commodity rationed in the U.S. in 1942 and the last removed from the rationing list in 1947.

"This foreign dependence is why we have a sugar policy today; America needs a reliable and stable homegrown supply."

ASA contends that reliable supply could be jeopardized if U.S. sugar policy is weakened.