Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and Chairman of the Coalition for Sugar Reform, participated in a panel discussion on the farm bill at the 30th International Sweetener Symposium. Graham highlighted the need to reform U.S. sugar policy and underscored the industry’s support for modest legislative efforts to do so.

The American Sugar Alliance (ASA) misrepresented his remarks in a subsequent press release.

To set the record straight, NCA issued the following statement:

“The U.S. sugar producing industry’s proposal of a ‘zero-for-zero’ policy to target other countries’ sugar subsidies before dealing with our own market-distorting subsidies here at home first is deeply misguided and also disingenuous. Sugar producers are the sole beneficiaries of sugar subsidies here in the United States – subsidies that are currently forcing the federal government to spend $51 million in taxpayer dollars to prop up U.S. sugar prices and costing American consumers and businesses up to $3.5 billion a year. 

“We urge Congress – as part of the farm bill process or otherwise – to take action this year to reform the costly U.S. sugar program – the only subsidy program that the House-passed farm bill made permanent without a single reform. 

“We are advocating reform of the sugar program, not repeal. If enacted, the modest reforms that have been proposed in the House and Senate on a bipartisan basis will ensure that the sugar program works for all stakeholders, including American consumers, taxpayers and businesses.

“In agreeing to speak at the ASA conference, we hoped to open an honest dialogue with sugar producers and are disappointed in the deliberately misleading manner in which ASA used Mr. Graham’s comments.”