U.S. Senate Rejects AIF-Opposed Legislation Harmful to Florida Farmers
The U.S. Senate voted 50-46 to table an amendment backed by a group of sugar users that would have phased out the federal sugar program, comprised of marketing allotments and import restrictions.
Associated Industries of Florida took action against the legislation it deemed harmful to one of Florida’s largest industries.
The state’s premier business lobby group urged members of Congress to oppose the amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, saying Florida sugar farmers provide 12,311 jobs and $3.3 billion of economic activity in the state.
In a recent letter to Congress, the group's president and CEO, Tom Feeney, asked congressional members to maintain the current sugar program, which limits subsidized foreign sugar and ensures a market balance for domestic producers but does not include direct payments to farmers.
“U.S. sugar farmers deserve a level playing field and should not be forced to compete with farmers subsidized and supported by foreign governments whether by direct loans, cash incentives or foreign ethanol programs,” Feeney wrote. “This flies in the face of the free-enterprise system.”
According to AIF, the U.S. is the sixth largest sugar producer and the largest sugar importer in the world. Florida is the largest sugar cane producing state in the nation.
The industry's trade lobby group, American Sugar Alliance, said in a release that the vote essentially killed the amendment.