Good Story to Tell

Published online: Nov 06, 2019 News Phillip Hayes, ASA
Viewed 98 time(s)
This article appears in the November/December 2019 issue of Sugar Producer.

America’s sugar farmers and workers are global leaders in sustainable production, providing consumers with high-quality sugar produced under some of the world’s strictest safety, labor and environmental standards.

Our industry certainly has a sweet story to tell about the many ways we have taken proactive steps to invest in sustainability.

The American Sugar Alliance recently launched a brand new website at www.sugarsustainably.org to highlight the commitments that our industry has made over the last several decades to preserve our natural resources, family farms and rural communities for future generations.

America’s sugar industry is proud to be on the front lines of securing a more resilient and efficient future for agriculture,” says Brian Baenig, chairman of the American Sugar Alliance.

Sustainable sugar production is rooted in our pledge to prioritize people, protect the planet, produce superior products, and promote fair-price policies. SugarSustainably.org shares stories about the ways our industry has prioritized these commitments and features a wide range of initiatives from throughout the beet and cane sugar industries.

The American sugar industry prioritizes people by investing in our local communities, supporting multi-generational family farms, creating 142,000 well-paying jobs, and providing safe conditions for a diverse workforce.

Visitors to SugarSustainably.org can learn more about how U.S. sugar policy has secured the support of organized labor by maintaining good-paying jobs, mainly in rural areas where job opportunities might otherwise be limited, which in turn sustains the local economy.

We are building upon industry advancements to protect the planet, including action to reduce greenhouse gases, improve water and soil quality, and sequester carbon. Investments in research and technology have enabled sugar producers to produce 12 percent more sugar on 16 percent less land than 20 years ago, while minimizing the use of fertilizer and pesticides.

Read about the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative’s work at the forefront of sustainable nutrient management practices and their award-winning initiative to maintain clean and healthy waterways.

Or learn about the innovative way Florida Crystals Corporation controls pests in cane fields while giving a helping hand to the local ecosystem.

And deep in the heart of Texas, a strong U.S. sugar policy keeps the historic sugar industry in the Rio Grande Valley alive.

America’s sugar industry produces superior products for our customers using strict safety standards and utilizing all parts of the crop to reduce waste and create beneficial byproducts. From livestock feed to road de-icers, eco-friendly kitchenware, fuel and electricity generation, sugar co-products touch the lives of countless consumers.

Sugarbeet pulp is used in livestock feed in the U.S. and abroad—and has even fueled Kentucky Derby champions.

Adoption of bioengineered sugarbeet seeds has enabled farmers to utilize better farming practices that have cut soil-derived carbon emissions by 80 percent.

The ASA works to promote fair-price policies in order to provide consumers with affordable sugar, help growers mitigate risks, and encourage subsidy-free markets that improve the quality of life for farmers around the globe. All of these sweet stories of sustainability are possible thanks to the no-cost sugar policy that allows our industry to thrive.

And thanks to U.S. sugar policy, America provides guaranteed market access and a fair market price to producers from 38 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, supporting responsible farming practices worldwide and securing valuable opportunities for the world’s poorest farmers.

The successful stories from America’s sugar industry featured at SugarSustainably.org stand in stark contrast to what is happening on the global sugar market. Foreign subsidies have fueled surpluses, distorting the global market and fostering a system that rewards government market intervention and poor environmental practices. We must continue to speak out against farm policy critics who would like to end our no-cost sugar policy and outsource U.S. sugar production to this unpredictable and unsustainable global sugar market.

It’s clear that a sustainable future is one that builds upon the achievements already accomplished by the U.S. sugar industry to protect our environment while giving our farmers, workers and communities the opportunity to flourish.

The ASA is proud to support America’s sugar producers and all the tremendous work they are doing to produce sugar sustainably.