Chicago — With the sugar program remaining unchanged in the recently passed Farm Bill, the Chicago Tribune has highlighted the negative impact the policy has had on business in both the city and the region.
With prices for the ingredient being artificially supported by the subsidy program, manufacturers have been forced to relocate or close because of the costs associated with sugar.
Tribune Columnist Steve Chapman notes that Brach’s Confections, Inc. brought the issue to the federal government in 1990, after contemplating closing its facility on the west side of Chicago because of the artificially inflated sugar cost. However, the company was largely ignored, and in 2003 was forced to close the facility and move production to Mexico.
Chapman also shares the story of a similar fate for a Holland, MI, Kraft Foods, Inc. facility that moved production to Montreal for the same reason. He explains that the Canadian sugar program isn’t run on government subsidies, but rather bases the price on world raw sugar markets, resulting in sugar prices that are among the lowest worldwide.
Sugar producers in the U.S. have benefited from trade barriers since 1798, Chapman reports, adding the current system dates back to the Great Depression.
“The country was a very different place then,” he writes. “In 1930, one of every four Americans lived on a farm. Today, it’s one in 50. But the Farm Bill passed by Congress and signed by the President this month was a missed opportunity to enact changes that would reflect the vast changes during the past 80 years.”
He concludes by proposing the sugar policy be run more as a free-market program, without federal oversight and with prices based on supply and demand.
For the full article, visit chicagotribune.com/news.