Louisiana’s 2018 sugarcane harvest season has been wet and muddy thus far, but the state’s farmers and millers got some good news when President Donald Trump officially signed the 2018 Farm Bill which extended U.S. sugar policy for another five years.
"Our Louisiana congressional delegation worked very hard for the sugarcane farmers and millers in maintaining sugar policy,” said Charles Schudmak, president of the American Sugar Cane League. "They supported us and made sure our industry was well represented to President Trump, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Chairmen Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Mike Conaway (R-TX), and Ranking Members Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Collin Peterson (D-MN). The Louisiana sugar industry is grateful to them.”
Louisiana’s sugar producers have been vocal supporters of the new farm bill and the safety net it provides for the rural community in Louisiana and across America.
Gary Gravois, a sugarcane farmer in Assumption Parish, traveled to Washington D. C. to visit with congressional members, staff, and national agriculture policy makers and educating them on how the Louisiana industry works.
"Sugarcane is very important in Assumption Parish,” he noted. "We’ve got plenty of farming families and two sugar mills with good jobs. The message I gave Congress is that a strong sugar policy helps the family farm and creates good local jobs.”
Sugar policy in the new Farm Bill is similar to the successful policy of the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills. It keeps unneeded subsidized foreign sugar from flooding the market and provides producers with loans that are repaid with interest, thus operating without taxpayer cost. In addition, the 2018 Farm Bill provides loan rate increases to more than a dozen commodities, including sugar, to help ease the mounting economic pressures.