Hoeven: Need to Pass Farm Bill, Continue Sugar Program

Senator Addresses 2013 American Crystal Sugar Co./Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today told a large gathering of sugar beet growers and processors that he is working to pass a strong, long-term farm bill which includes the sugar program. As a member of the House-Senate farm bill conference committee, the senator said he’s doing everything he can to get agreement from the conferees so that Congress can pass a farm bill by the end of this year or January.

The senator said the importance of reauthorizing the sugar program in the new farm bill was made clear from the industry’s recent experience. During the past year, the U.S. market has been flooded with surplus sugar from Mexico, which has free access to the U.S. sugar market under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexican exports to the U.S. approached 20 percent of total U.S. sugar demand.

“Our industry can compete with anyone anywhere when the terms are fair,” Hoeven said. “The sugar program levels the playing field with subsidized foreign producers and benefits not only our industry, but also consumers.”

A strong Farm Bill benefits every American

Senator Hoeven devoted the last of his remarks to the broader farm bill legislation, which saves more than $24 billion for deficit reduction, streamlines farm programs and ensures that farmers and ranchers continue to have a sturdy safety net through enhanced crop insurance.

“This is about all Americans. Good farm policy benefits every single American,” he said. “We have the highest quality, lowest cost food supply – not only in the world – but in the history of the world. This is about 16 million jobs in this country that are supported by agriculture. This is about a positive balance of trade that helps our economy. This is about $24 billion in savings where agriculture is stepping up and doing more than its share under the sequester rules to address the debt and deficit. In the most fundamental ways, a good farm bill makes America stronger, safer and more secure.”