A bipartisan group of a dozen senators is calling on Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to hold off on policy changes that could make it easier for sugar to make its way across U.S. borders.
The letter, led by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., argued it is “imperative that USDA not make changes that would create a glut in the U.S. market and collapse prices below grower costs of production.”
“U.S. processors and refiners maintain stocks on hand to meet demand and to ensure that carryover stocks are adequate during sugarbeet and sugarcane harvests,” the senators wrote. “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own measures, today, the U.S. sugar market is adequately supplied.”
The letter, sent Sept. 9, cites the “latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” and its projection of a 14.4% sugar stocks-to-use ratio and says USDA has previously determined a ratio of 13.5% “is adequate to supply the U.S. market.” USDA has since released another WASDE report that dropped the stocks-to-use ratio to 13.5%.
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The senators also argue U.S. sugar prices “remain comparable with those in other developed countries” despite supply chain disruptions and rising input costs.
In addition to Hoeven and Smith, the letter also carries the signatures of Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Florida Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, Idaho Republicans Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, and Wyoming Republicans John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis.
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