WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives vote of 216 to 208 on July 11 to pass a revised Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 was met with disappointment by the American Bakers Association.
“Yesterday’s House passage of the ‘farm–only’ bill locks in place outdated farm policy such as the U.S. Sugar Program,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. “This provision will make it more difficult to reform federal commodity policy in the future such as the U.S. Sugar Program.”
Most disconcerting, he said, is the fact the U.S. Department of Agriculture on July 10 said it purchased a total of about 91,238 tonnes of beet and raw cane sugar at a cost of $43,835,033. The purchase was made to reduce the current domestic sugar surplus in the United States. The total included 54,946.4 tonnes of raw cane and 36,291.3 tonnes of beet sugar. The purchased sugar was exchanged for a total of 264,704.6 tonnes of refined sugar re-export credits and 34,448 tonnes of Certificates of Quota Eligibility (C.Q.E.), at ratios ranging from 2.8 to 5.0. It was the first purchase of sugar by the U.S.D.A. due to oversupply since 2000.
“Instead of choosing a route that would allow for open debate and modest reforms, the House has decided to move forward with legislation that defies logic and common sense, and makes a mockery of sound agriculture policy,” Mr. MacKie said. “Yesterday’s vote ensures that the arcane U.S. Sugar Program, which stifles bakers’ and other food manufacturers’ ability to hire and contribute to economic growth, is now a permanent fixture in our nation’s farm law.”