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Published May 22, 2013, 04:35 PM

Senate rejects Shaheen sugar program amendment

In a major victory for the sugar grower industry, the Senate has voted against an amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to change the program. The vote was 45 in favor and 54 against.

By: Agweek Staff Report,

In a major victory for the sugar grower industry, the Senate has voted against a farm bill amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to change the sugar program. The vote was 45 in favor and 54 against.

The amendment would have reformed the subsidies and import restrictions on sugar within the United States. Shaheen had argued that it would reduce the price of sugar.

But senators from states that grow sugar beets, such as North Dakota and Minnesota, argued that any tweaks to the sugar program would disturb the balance of the farm bill.

"Today, the U.S. Senate stood with sugar producers and the 142,000 Americans whose jobs are supported by the industry," said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. "I spent a lot of time with my colleagues from around the country to educate them on sugar policy and help them understand how damaging this amendment would be to our agriculture producers. I made our case using the facts, and the story of North Dakota sugar production won the day. Working to defeat this was another step forward in crafting a farm bill that works for North Dakota."

“The U.S. sugar program is critical to Minnesota’s sugar growers and to growers across the nation,” said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. “I’m very pleased that the Senate was able to include the sugar program in this year’s farm bill because it’s vital to Minnesota’s economy and it keeps jobs from being shipped overseas.”

Further votes on the farm bill appear unlikely today.

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