As organizations and lawmakers continue to discuss the next farm bill, representatives from the sugar beet industry brought up their concerns during a farm bill roundtable held recently in Fargo, North Dakota. Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Senator John Boozman (R-AR) was on hand to hear from speakers.
“The loan rate is so distant from today’s costs,” said Perry Skaurud, a grower from Minnesota, who spoke representing American Crystal Sugar Company. “And so, for that reason, we are seeking a substantial increase in the loan rate for sugar in the 2023 Farm Bill. Unlike other commodities, we don’t receive government payments. So, the loan rate is our safety net. That is the absolute key.”
Sugar beet grower from North Dakota, Carson Klostermann, agreed.
“We’re already awfully efficient. There’s room to grow, but we need a good solid loan rate so that we can stick our neck out at the co-op just like we did 50 some years ago,” he said, “so that we can spend the millions and millions of dollars to expand to get more domestic sugar made.”
Meanwhile, Senator Boozman said he expects to have a new farm bill passed by the first of the year.
“I don’t think it’s possible to get done by the end of the country’s calendar year, which is … the end of September,” he said. “But I do feel very strongly, and I think Senator Stabenow feels strongly, that we’d like to get this thing done by the first of the year.”
He said The United States Department of Agriculture has informed the committee that it has the funding to continue running programs until the first of the year, even if there is not a new farm bill by the time the current one expires at the end of September.
Click below to hear Sabrina Halvorson’s radio news report for Michigan Ag Today.