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Associated Industries of Florida Calls on Congress to Support Domestic Sugar Farmers

June 13, 2012

TALLAHASSEE – In a recent letter to Florida’s Congressional delegation, Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) urged members to oppose federal legislation that would hurt the U.S. and Florida’s sugar industries. Additionally, AIF asked Congressional members to maintain current sugar policy outlined in the 2008 Farm Bill, which prevents subsidized sugar imports from foreign nations and maintains market balance for domestic sugar producers. Consumers benefit from U.S. sugar policy because it operates at no cost to taxpayers and keeps sugar prices stable and affordable.

“U.S. sugar farmers deserve a level playing field and should not be forced to compete with farmers subsidized and supported by foreign governments whether by direct loans, cash incentives or foreign ethanol programs. This flies in the face of the free enterprise system,” said Tom Feeney, Associated Industries of Florida President and CEO. “AIF calls on Congress to oppose any measures that would create an unfair climate that will hurt an important sector of our nation’s agricultural industry.”

The U.S. is the sixth largest sugar producer and the largest sugar importer in the world. From growing, harvesting and refining, sugar production is a vital aspect of Florida’s economy. The sugar industry provides 12,311 jobs and $3.3 billion of economic activity in the State of Florida and more than 142,000 jobs and nearly $20 billion in economic activity in the United States. Sugar is a basic commodity that is found in nearly 70 percent of foods in the grocery store and domestic production of this ingredient is vital to U.S. food security.

Known as “The Voice of Florida Business,” AIF has advocated for the principles of prosperity and free enterprise since 1920. Representing more than 10,000 businesses across the state, AIF is one of Florida’s most powerful and successful government affairs and business lobbying groups.