Changes made to the federal sugar program in the 2008 farm bill have
caused sugar prices to spike to record levels, which hurts businesses,
manufacturers and consumers, a new report from the food and agriculture
consulting company Agralytica shows.
consumer costs due to the 2008 farm bill have tallied about $3.7
billion each year, according to the report (PDF) released Monday. Currently, sugar prices in
the United States are about 46 cents per pound, which is higher than 28
cents per pound under the 2002 farm bill.
Sugar producers in the
United States and Mexico have responded to the high prices in the U.S.
market by expanding sugar production by 20 percent to 25 percent, said Agralytica’s
Vice President Tom Earley.
The 2008 changes have made “a bad program even worse and have destabilized the U.S.
sugar market,” said Earley, who is also an agricultural economist and
trade policy specialist.
“Now we have too much sugar that’s
driving prices down that’s going to result in significant costs for the
government,” he explained.