Debbie Stabenow, Michael Conaway
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Representative Michael Conaway of Texas pledged bipartisan support to the U.S. sugar industry.

COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO — Two influential members of Congress pledged bipartisan support to the U.S. sugar industry via taped messages at the opening session of the 33rd annual International Sweetener Symposium held Aug. 1 in Coeur D’Alene.

“It’s important that we again find a path forward with the Mexican government on (sugar) trade,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee. “It’s important that we keep the farm bill intact and free from attacks designed to undermine the five-year sugar policy and beyond. And it’s important that we are ensuring that the interests of U.S. sugar (producers) are represented in the larger trade agenda.”

Representative Michael Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “Sugar policy, for me, is easy to defend. It works for the American taxpayer, and more importantly it works for the American sugar producer.”

Ms. Stabenow, along with Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, worked out a bipartisan version of a national bioengineered labeling law that was signed by President Barack Obama July 29. The bill, which pre-empts state G.M.O. labeling laws, including one that took effect in Vermont on July 1, had broad support from agriculture and food manufacturing interests, including the sugar industry.

The Symposium is sponsored by the American Sugar Alliance, which represents the interests of U.S. sugar producers.