WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013 – USDA announced today it intends to purchase sugar from domestic sugarcane or sugar beet processors for the first time since 2000.
The purchased sugar will then be available to refiners that can exchange their purchases for credits under the Refined Sugar Re-export Program. USDA said exchanging sugar for credits reduces imports into the U.S. and is designed to reduce the sugar surplus.
“Today’s actions are designed to manage the sugar program while minimizing federal sugar program expenditures,” according to the USDA announcement. The department believes this action could remove around 300,000 tons of sugar from the U.S. market and cost approximately $38 million, subject to sequester, which is one-third the expected cost of forfeitures.
USDA also announced that licensed refiners now have 270 days—rather than 90 days—to make required exports or sugar transfers under the Refined Sugar Re-export Program.
USDA’s move to purchase sugar comes as the House is set to take up a farm bill debate this week, which will likely include proposed amendments to reform the nation’s sugar program.
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