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   Actions By USDA Confirm The Need To Reform The Current U.S. Sugar Program
by American Bakers Association
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 3:51PM EDT

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently confirmed what bakers have been saying for many years now - the sugar program is broken and does not serve our country’s best interests,” said Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO. “The fact that USDA had to game the system to ensure adequate sugar supplies for American consumers is just the latest proof.”

On August 26, USDA extended the 2010/11 marketing year for sugar to Oct. 31, 2011, in order to address supply concerns. Typically, the marketing year would end on Sept. 30. In another attempt to meet demand earlier this summer, the USDA announced that the 2011/12 marketing year would begin on Sept. 1, a full month before its typical start date.

“What we are witnessing is USDA desperately trying to manage an archaic program to meet modern demand,” said Cory Martin, ABA senior manager of government relations. “Our hats are off to USDA for being creative in order to address myriad supply concerns with the program, but its hands are tied by current law. Congress must dramatically reform the sugar program to avoid continuing supply deficits in the future.”

The sugar program is reauthorized every five years in the Farm Bill. ABA has been working with Congress to gain support of several sugar reform initiatives, including the Free Sugar Act, the Free Market Sugar Act, and the Stop Unfair Giveaways and Restrictions Act. These bills seek to dramatically reform the current program, allowing greater access to supply and decreasing costs to consumers.

About the American Bakers Association:

The American Bakers Association (ABA) is the Washington D.C.-based voice of the wholesale baking industry. Since 1897, ABA has represented the interests of bakers before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory authorities. ABA advocates on behalf of more than 700 baking facilities and baking company suppliers. ABA members produce bread, rolls, crackers, bagels, sweet goods, tortillas and many other wholesome, nutritious, baked products for America’s families. The baking industry generates more than $102 billion in economic activity annually and employs more than 633,000 highly skilled people.

Source: American Bakers Association

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