The U.S. sugar program is singular among major farm commodity programs in that it combines a floor price guarantee with a supply management structure that encompasses both domestic production for human use and sugar imports. Historically, the U.S. sugar market has been managed to help stabilize supplies and support prices. The current sugar program provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets and, by extension, to the producers of both crops. The 2014 farm bill (P.L. 113-79) reauthorized the sugar program that expired with the 2013 crop year through crop year 2018 with no changes. As before, it directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer the program at no budgetary cost to the federal government by limiting the amount of sugar supplied for food use in the U.S. market (see CRS Report R43998, U.S. Sugar Program Fundamentals, by Mark A. McMinimy). To achieve the dual objectives of providing a price guarantee to producers while avoiding program costs, USDA uses four tools to keep domestic market prices above guaranteed levels.
Date of Report: 5/8/2015
Order Number: IF10223
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