Amid changes to the United States' sugar policy at the national level, the sugar industry has sat on the sidelines and waited for changes that could potentially change the landscape of the industry. In a penned letter to the US Department of Agriculture, US Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) defended Florida's sugar industry.
The letter addressed to Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was signed by 12 US Senators across party lines, but most notably were both Florida Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. Florida has one of the largest sugar industries, and has also gained national attention from climate activists who have accused big sugar of destroying the South Florida environment.
The letter voiced that the senators are in, "strong support for U.S. sugar policy." The senators added, "Americans benefit every day from the lowest-cost, highest-quality food supply in the world, enabled, in part, by the certainty and stability of our domestic sugar industry."
Rubio and Scott went to bat for the sugar industry by citing the industry's, "resilience," during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The letter reads, "The sugar supply chain in America is incredibly resilient, as evidenced by the sector’s ability to maintain delivery of American-made sugar to store shelves and to food manufacturing companies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. At zero cost to taxpayers, domestic sugar policy supports more than 151,000 American jobs in more than two dozen states, and through a network of strategically placed distribution centers, ensures consumers a reliable supply of high-quality, responsibly-produced sugar at a reasonable price."
"The latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) projects the current sugar stocks-to-use ratio at 14.4 percent. USDA has determined that a stocks-to-use ratio of at least 13.5 percent is adequate to supply the U.S. market. This figure suggests that more than 1.8 million tons of sugar stocks are on hand leading into the fall sugarcane and sugarbeet harvest season."
The letter from the US Senate further urged the Administration to, "not make changes that would create a glut in the U.S. market and collapse prices below grower costs of production, which would violate the spirit of U.S. sugar policy and ultimately drive family farmers out of business." While Florida is not a fan favorite state of Democrat climate activists, the government will likely side with the upsides of not changing US sugar policy in light of their positive economic effects.