Re Carl Hiaasen’s March 24 column, Big Sugar’s subsidy: Florida’s sugar industry is made up of hundreds of small Glades farmers like my family. Our 700-acre farm has been in the family for three generations and we hope to pass it on to our children.
We don’t get subsidies; we sell it to one of the four processing mills in South Florida. Those mills can take out operating loans from the government in order to pay growers for their cane.
Unlike crop subsidies offered to other crops, sugar loans must be repaid with interest within nine months.
U.S. trade policy has allowed foreign producers to oversupply our marketplace.
Prices for sugar have dropped more than 50 percent in the last year, but consumer prices haven’t gone down because the large global food-processing companies are padding their profits at our expense. These are the multinational corporations that want to dismantle our sugar policy in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. sugar policy has operated at no cost for more than a decade, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars when compared to other crop programs. Providing a safety net for American farmers to protect Florida growers from subsidized foreign imports is a small price to pay for food security.
Ardis and Alan Hammock, Moore Haven