A Summer in the U.K.

Highlights and experiences from Jake Chrisholm's internship with the International Sugar Organization.


Editor’s Note: The proceeding is the first installment of a three-part series highlighting Jake Chisholm’s summer of 2016, where he interned for the International Sugar Organization in London. In 2015 Jake received his B.S. degree from North Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural economics and minoring in crop and weed science. He is a grower for American Crystal and has been a member and officer in several ag organizations throughout his collegiate career. Jake also served as the American Sugarbeet Growers Association’s Cleavinger Intern in the summer of 2014 in Washington D.C.  I believe Jake’s writings will offer a unique perspective within the sugar industry and insight to how both the industry and farming overall varies in the United Kingdom. From May 29th until August 4th, I had the pleasure to intern for the International Sugar Organization (ISO) in London, UK. During my time there, I experienced the fundamentals and factors that are influencing the global sugar markets. This article, the first of three, will highlight the purpose of the ISO and what contributions I made while interning there.

The International Sugar Organization is an intergovernmental body devoted to improving the world sugar market through analysis, case studies, and policy debate. The ISO exists to administer the 1992 International Sugar Agreement, which outlines the following objectives: ​Ensure enhanced international cooperation in connection with world sugar matters and related issues.Provide a forum for intergovernmental consultations on sugar and on ways to improve the world sugar economy.Facilitate trade by collecting and providing information on the world sugar market and other sweeteners.Encourage increased demand for sugar, particularly for non-traditional uses To fulfill these objectives, the ISO serves as the only worldwide forum for the exchange of views by the major sugar producing, consuming, and trading countries. The annual publications released by the ISO detail the production, current supply, and demand of sugar, which provides a short and long term projection on where the price of sugar is going.       While interning at the ISO, I worked closely under their senior economists analyzing the fundamentals that are driving the current price of sugar. Like our domestic market in the U.S. many of the same fundamentals influence the world market of sugar including supply and demand, production excess or disaster, health initiatives and changing consumer preferences, and government legislation. For the past number of years, the futures price of sugar has been incredibly low. Keep in mind that the U.S. sugar industry operates much differently than its competitors in different other parts of the world. The U.S. sugar industry utilizes price supports, marketing allotments, and tariff-rate quotas for protection against the incredibly volatile and heavily subsidized world sugar market. Due to continually low sugar prices, my primary project while at the ISO was tracking and researching the acquisitions, mergers, and foreign investment occurring in the world sugar industry.      Throughout the duration of my internship at the ISO, I was exposed to an incredible amount of information that at times could feel overwhelming. I had the opportunity to work and visit with incredible individuals from many different backgrounds and relations to the sugar industry. What I have found to be the most beneficial now that my internship is over is the lasting connections with professionals that work in many different sectors of not only our domestic sugar industry, but around the globe. Being able to send an email to a sugar analyst in London to inquire about market prices or a sugarbeet farmer in England or France to ask how their growing season has been is pretty incredible. I believe the ongoing battle that our domestic industry is facing with Mexican sugar imports is strong evidence that participating in the world sugar industry is important.      In the next article, I will write about my experience traveling to Cambridgeshire Fens one hour of north of London to visit William "Bill" Martin’s grain and sugarbeet farm. Please feel free to contact me at, I would be happy to visit with you about my internship experience and anything else related to sugarbeets!


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