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U.S. Sugar Completes 83rd Annual Sugarcane Harvest Season Amid Wet Weather & Disastrously Low Prices
"Sugar farmers faced the double whammy of bad weather and very bad sugar prices this year," said Judy Sanchez, senior director, corporate communications and public affairs.
"The extremely wet summer of 2013 flooded fields and wreaked havoc with our crops, with above average rainfall negatively impacting growth at the most critical point during the summer's 'grand growth cycle' of the sugarcane crop" Sanchez said. U.S. Sugar's owned and leased land produced 5.5 million tons of sugarcane during the 2013-14 crop as compared to 5.8 million tons last year. In addition, heavy rainfall early in the harvest shut down every sugar mill in the area for multiple days, costing the Florida sugar industry tens of millions of dollars.
"On top of rain damage, we have been facing a glut of unnecessary and unlimited Mexican sugar imports that are being dumped into the U.S. market, causing our prices to plummet by more than 50% over the last two years. With no alternative, a coalition of American sugarcane and sugar beet producers have filed anti-dumping measures against Mexico,"Sanchez said. "What makes the dumping of sugar below their price of production even worse is that the Mexicam government owns more than 20% of the Mexican sugar industry. They can continue these predatory practices indefinitely."
Combined with cane from its 32 independent growers, U.S. Sugar produced approximately 7.1 million tons of sugarcane for processing at the Clewiston Sugar Factory.
The Clewiston Sugar Factory is projected to process more than 6.5 million tons of sugarcane, yielding more than 15.6 million cwt of raw sugar. U.S. Sugar’s C-Tandem is the only milling tandem in America powered by Swedish hydraulic drives and its mill rolls are 150% larger than any other tandem in the United States and can grind 170% more cane per day than any other milling tandem in the U.S.
U.S. Sugar also delivered nearly 325,219 tons of sugarcane to the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida and 180,445 tons to Okeelanta Mill for processIng.
“With sugar prices falling to 1980-era levels, the only winners in the current oversupply situation are foreign governments who can control their own sugar and sugar markets and large global food processing companies who are pocketing large profits from cheap sugar rather than passing those cost savings along to the consumer,” Sanchez said.
“As sugar prices have fallen sharply in the last two years, the price of candy and other sweet treats has gone up, creating an incredibly sour situation for both American sugar farmers and consumers,” Sanchez said.
"Even so, we want to commend our employees, our growers and our vendors for their hard work in safely and efficiently completiing the harvest and process season." Sanchez said.