The American Sugar Alliance says the upcoming year for sugar producers will be a lot like a box of assorted chocolates - full of unknowns.
"The combination of economic pressures and unneeded foreign sugar cascading onto the U.S. market could be enough to sink America's sugar producers," the ASA reports. But, "if the Farm Bill remains intact and is implemented properly - and if America's trade policy does not undercut its sugar growers - then U.S. producers have the tools to weather the storm of 2009 and enter 2010 in a strong position."
Sugarbeet farmers are cautiously optimistic that the government will make the right choices in 2009, says Alan Welp, a Colorado farmer and ASA president.
President Barack Obama and new Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have both made promising statements about sugar policy in recent months.
ASA representatives recently traveled to Washington to meet legislators.
Welp says they wanted to make sure newly elected and appointed officials understood the good deal sugar policy has been for taxpayers and how important the industry is to rural economies.
Sugar policy has operated at no cost to taxpayers since 2002 and is projected not cost taxpayers anything in 2009.
Sugar is produced in 18 states and the industry employs 146,000 Americans and generates nearly $10 billion in economic activity.
Source: America Sugar Alliance