WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture late Aug. 30 said it bought 7,118 tons of sugar for $3.6 million that was resold to biofuels producers for about $900,000, or about 25% of cost, under the Feedstock Flexibility Program.
The refined beet sugar was purchased from the Western Sugar Cooperative and purchased by Front Range Energy, L.L.C., a Windsor, Colo.-based ethanol maker. Although there was said to have been good interest from biofuel producers, some noted interest was dampened by the approaching corn harvest and by legal restrictions on emissions that limited ethanol feedstock to corn or grain.
Sugar processors had originally offered the U.S.D.A. 99,375 tons of refined beet and raw cane sugar, but under the F.F.P. the U.S.D.A. will buy only the amount that may be resold to biofuels producers. Sugar sold in the tender had to be pledged against loans maturing on Aug. 31 and buyers had to use it in the production of biofuels.
It was the U.S.D.A.’s third tender, but the first under the F.F.P., for sugar in the past two months. In the first tender the U.S.D.A. bought 91,238 tonnes of refined beet and raw cane sugar that was exchanged for 299,153 tonnes of refined sugar re-export credits and Certificates of Quota Eligibility. In a second tender the U.S.D.A. purchased 15,504 tonnes of raw cane sugar that was exchanged for 46,559 tonnes of re-export credits. The U.S.D.A. spent a total of $50.706 million in the earlier tenders.
The U.S.D.A. is seeking to remove sugar from the market to avoid forfeitures against government loans taken by sugar processors.
Also Friday afternoon, the U.S.D.A. said it set the 2013-14 (fiscal 2014) overall sugar marketing allotment quantity (O.A.Q.) at 9,843,000 tons, raw value, equal to 85% of projected human sugar consumption, as required by law.
The department also said the domestic cane sector would not be able to fulfill its allotted quantity in 2012-13 (fiscal 2013) and reassigned some of the 2012-13 surplus to a Louisiana cane processor and the rest to imports that already were expected to enter the United States.
“At this time the Commodity Credit Corp. determined that it does not expect to purchase sugar using the F.F.P. authority in FY 2014 because sugar market forecasts indicate that the domestic sugar surplus will be less in FY 2014 than in FY 2013,” the U.S.D.A. said.