Patrick Frischhertz, a sugarcane grower from Plaquemine, Louisiana testified before the House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit on Wednesday, April 26.
Speaking on behalf of the American Sugar Alliance, Frischhertz called on lawmakers to maintain “an adequate economic safety net for American sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers.”
Frischhertz told the panel that sugar policy outlined in Title 1 of the farm bill is critical to maintaining a safe, reliable, high-quality, affordable and sustainably produced supply of an essential ingredient.
“Without sugar policy, we would effectively outsource our sugar supply to heavily-subsidized and unreliable foreign sugar suppliers whose environmental and labor standards simply do not measure up to our own,” Frischhertz said. “That would be the opposite of strengthening supply chains and contrary to providing a safety net to American producers. Under that scenario, farmers, consumers, and taxpayers would all lose.”
He also noted that sugar policy operates at “no cost to the U.S. Treasury.”
Frischhertz spoke on the challenges sugar producers face from high input costs, tight margins, and crop and weather disruptions. He urged the members to examine “how the farm safety net could be updated in the next farm bill for all Title I commodities to better match actual operating costs for producers,” and gave sugar producers’ support for the subcommittee’s interest in developing additional risk management programs to complement crop insurance.
“We are certainly receptive to new efforts to provide standing disaster coverage in ways that do not undermine crop insurance and possibly even encourage greater participation and coverage levels,” Frischhertz said.
Frischhertz urged lawmakers to consider the 11,000 sugarcane and sugarbeet family farmers and the 151,000 milling, processing, and refining jobs created by the sugar industry when they consider how to write a new farm bill that meets the needs of producers and the American people.
“Effective sugar policy, which maintains a strong domestic industry, is essential to the food security of our nation,” Frischhertz said.
Frischhertz acknowledged Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA-8) and Ranking Member Shontel Brown (D-OH-11) and thanked them for listening to the needs of American producers as they craft the next Farm Bill.