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Farm bill must include reform to sugar subsidies

BusinessDonna F. EdwardsJohn DelaneySteny HoyerAndrew P HarrisC.A. Dutch RuppersbergerElijah E. Cummings

This year's farm bill would have made substantive changes to nearly every commodity program operated by the federal government except the sugar program ("House again fails to pass farm bill," June 20). While an amendment offering modest reforms was defeated in favor of the status quo, we applaud Maryland Reps. Andy Harris, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Delaney and Chris Van Hollen who voted for the amendment, a vote to support the 190 Maryland manufacturing establishments and more than 8,500 Maryland jobs that rely on competitive sugar for their operations.

Currently the government controls who can grow and process sugar and how much can be imported. All of these controls are for one purpose: guaranteeing that sugar producers and processors always profit. When sugar prices are high, consumers pay nearly double the world market rate. When prices are low, the government bails out sugar producers. Over the next few years American consumers could pay hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase excess sugar. It also puts at risk the more than 600,000 American manufacturing jobs supported by sugar using manufacturers of the sweet products we all love, like Goetze's Caramel Creams, Mary Sue Candies, Wockenfuss Candies, and yes, H&S Bakery bread!

The sugar program is a failed policy that threatens Maryland businesses, growth and job creation. Sugar program reform must be part of any new farm bill, and we encourage Maryland Reps. John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards, Steny Hoyer and Elijah Cummings to remember that while there is no sugar grown in Maryland, there are food manufacturing jobs in their districts. We ask them to reconsider their position on sugar reform and join their fellow representatives on a vote for the citizens, workers and businesses of our great state.

Bill Buppert, owner, Mary Sue Candies; Mitchell Goetze, owner, Goetze's Candy; J.R. Paterakis, owner, H&S Bakery, Inc.; and Paul Wockenfuss, owner, Wockenfuss Homemade Candies

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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