American Sugar Farmers Say: Maybe That Cute Little Easter Bunny Is Not To Blame

Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Sugar Alliance

    WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- American sugar farmers aren't
 accusing the Easter Bunny of being a crafty little scoundrel, but they do
 believe that someone is pocketing the difference between historically low
 sugar prices and higher candy prices.
     American sugar farmers are reeling from wholesale refined sugar prices
 that have plummeted 29 percent since 1996, the year that current federal farm
 legislation was enacted. Some sugar farmers have been forced out of growing
 sugar, and a number of sugar mills and plants -- including the country's
 largest sugar seller -- have gone out of business or have filed for
 bankruptcy.
     At the same time, the Easter candy that consumers are buying has risen
 almost 8 percent. While that is not out of line with inflation, it does raise
 farmers' eyebrows when the principal ingredient in that candy -- sugar -- has
 dropped by almost a third. Even on the grocery shelves, where there are no
 other costs that go into the end product, the price of sugar is up, not down,
 by 1.5 percent.
     The American Sugar Alliance (ASA), a national coalition of sugarbeet,
 sugarcane and corn sweetener farmers and their processors, track these figures
 that are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau
 of Labor Statistics.
     It's not just the Easter Bunny's products that have gone up, while sugar
 goes down. From 1996 to 2000, the consumer price for cereal has risen more
 than 4 percent, cookies and cakes are up 8 percent, and ice cream is up nearly
 14 percent.
     ASA notes that the lower prices America's sugar farmers -- among the most
 efficient in the world -- face have been brought on by a number of factors.
 Among these are trade agreements that force the U.S. to import as much as 1.5
 million tons of sugar each year, from 41 different countries, whether we need
 the sugar or not. Also, schemes have been devised to by-pass America's quota
 system on sugar with syrup concoctions from which the sugar is extracted once
 the mixture has been imported into the U.S. Production, too, is up brought
 about by improved yields, good weather, and the fact that farmers of other
 crops have switched to sugar under the Freedom to Farm Act of 1996.
     So, American sugar farmers don't blame that cuddly Easter Bunny for higher
 candy prices. But they do chaff under the knowledge that the opponents of U.S.
 sugar policy -- candy makers, food manufacturers, ice cream companies, grocery
 chains -- continue to wage a legislative battle against America's sugar
 farmers in an effort to squeeze even more profit out of the farmer and the
 consumer. Maybe the sugar farmer foes can squeeze the Easter Bunny instead.
 
 

SOURCE American Sugar Alliance
    WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- American sugar farmers aren't
 accusing the Easter Bunny of being a crafty little scoundrel, but they do
 believe that someone is pocketing the difference between historically low
 sugar prices and higher candy prices.
     American sugar farmers are reeling from wholesale refined sugar prices
 that have plummeted 29 percent since 1996, the year that current federal farm
 legislation was enacted. Some sugar farmers have been forced out of growing
 sugar, and a number of sugar mills and plants -- including the country's
 largest sugar seller -- have gone out of business or have filed for
 bankruptcy.
     At the same time, the Easter candy that consumers are buying has risen
 almost 8 percent. While that is not out of line with inflation, it does raise
 farmers' eyebrows when the principal ingredient in that candy -- sugar -- has
 dropped by almost a third. Even on the grocery shelves, where there are no
 other costs that go into the end product, the price of sugar is up, not down,
 by 1.5 percent.
     The American Sugar Alliance (ASA), a national coalition of sugarbeet,
 sugarcane and corn sweetener farmers and their processors, track these figures
 that are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau
 of Labor Statistics.
     It's not just the Easter Bunny's products that have gone up, while sugar
 goes down. From 1996 to 2000, the consumer price for cereal has risen more
 than 4 percent, cookies and cakes are up 8 percent, and ice cream is up nearly
 14 percent.
     ASA notes that the lower prices America's sugar farmers -- among the most
 efficient in the world -- face have been brought on by a number of factors.
 Among these are trade agreements that force the U.S. to import as much as 1.5
 million tons of sugar each year, from 41 different countries, whether we need
 the sugar or not. Also, schemes have been devised to by-pass America's quota
 system on sugar with syrup concoctions from which the sugar is extracted once
 the mixture has been imported into the U.S. Production, too, is up brought
 about by improved yields, good weather, and the fact that farmers of other
 crops have switched to sugar under the Freedom to Farm Act of 1996.
     So, American sugar farmers don't blame that cuddly Easter Bunny for higher
 candy prices. But they do chaff under the knowledge that the opponents of U.S.
 sugar policy -- candy makers, food manufacturers, ice cream companies, grocery
 chains -- continue to wage a legislative battle against America's sugar
 farmers in an effort to squeeze even more profit out of the farmer and the
 consumer. Maybe the sugar farmer foes can squeeze the Easter Bunny instead.
 
 SOURCE  American Sugar Alliance