FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Phillip Hayes
August 8, 2012 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
Ag Leaders Agree: Sugar Policy a “Top Priority” in 2012 Farm Bill
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho—As the 2012 Farm Bill process continues, America’s no-cost sugar program maintains strong support among the nation’s leading farm policy organizations, according to speakers today at the 29th International Sweetener Symposium.
U.S. sugar policy has operated at no cost to taxpayers since 2002, and U.S. Department of Agriculture projections show the trend will continue through at least 2021. In a challenging budget environment on Capitol Hill, that’s welcomed news, the panelists noted.
“Maintaining a strong domestic no-cost sugar program is important to our members,” said Mary Kay Thatcher, director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s biggest farm organization. “In the 2012 Farm Bill, it’s a top priority because it’s a key component of the farm safety net and is being unfairly attacked. It works as designed and at no cost to the American taxpayer. You don’t get much better than that.”
Chandler Goule, vice president of government relations for the National Farmers Union, a large agricultural trade group with members in all 50 states, agrees. “When you add up its numerous attributes—being no cost, setting the global standard for affordability and safety, and supporting 142,000 jobs in 22 states—you can’t be anything but a strong supporter,” he said. “Its role in the strength of the farm and rural economy in America can’t be overstated.”
Earlier this week attendees enjoyed a speech by Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID), whose district is host to the 29th International Sweetener Symposium. They were also greeted by video messages from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Subcommittee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX). These farm policy leaders echoed Thatcher and Goule’s message by stressing the importance of the farm economy in America.
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