In reference to the editorial “The farm bill: So much so wrong” (June 23 and TribLIVE.com): This year's farm bill would have made substantive changes to nearly every commodity program operated by the federal government except the sugar program. While an amendment offering modest reforms was defeated in favor of the status quo, we applaud U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Chester County, who has worked tirelessly for sugar reform and our other representatives who voted for the amendment.
Currently, the government controls who can grow and process sugar and how much can be imported. 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 taxpayers could pay hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase surplus sugar — all to artificially raise the price that food manufacturers, like Pennsylvania confectioners, will pay for this ingredient.
The sugar program is failed policy that threatens Pennsylvania businesses, growth and job creation. We encourage our Pennsylvania legislators to continue to push for sugar-program reform in any new farm bill.
& Ross Born
The writers are, respectively, president and CEO of Blommer Chocolate Co. in East Greenville and co-CEO of candy-maker Just Born Inc. in Bethlehem.