Jack Roney receives Sugar Club's Dyer Memorial Award

The Sugar Club, an international forum of traders and large customers of sugar, gave the 2021 award to Roney but did not present it until March 23, 2023, due to concerns about COVID-19.

Jack Roney was one of the biggest defenders of the domestic sugar industry over his 47-year career in agriculture and sugar policy.
Mike Spieker / The Sugarbeet Grower file photo

NEW YORK — Jack Roney, the former director of economics and policy analysis at the American Sugar Alliance, has received the Dyer Memorial Award.

The Sugar Club, an international forum of traders and large customers of sugar, gave the 2021 award to Roney but did not present it until March 23, 2023, due to concerns about COVID-19.

"Your contributions to the industry have been unique and you have helped numerous people in their careers along the way," the Sugar Club said in its citation to Roney.

"It is the honor of a lifetime and the perfect culmination to my 47-year career in agricultural and sugar policy in Washington, D.C.," Roney said in his acceptance remarks.

Roney, who retired in August 2021, spent 47 years working in agriculture, with 32 specifically in the sugar industry, including working since 1996 for the American Sugar Alliance. Prior to that, he worked for the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture — where he helped create the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.


Roney described himself as "a kid from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania." According to The Sugar Club, Roney did his undergraduate studies at Fordham University in New York City and the University of Cologne in Germany and earned graduate degrees at American University and at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International studies, both in Washington, D.C.

The citation noted many ways Roney had been involved in the sugar industry, including serving on the executive board of the American Sugar Alliance and as president of the Sugar Club, representing the industry in policy matters, and serving as the chairman of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Sweeteners and Sweetener Products, a private sector trade policy advisory group formed by the U.S. government.

"During the course of your long career in the sugar industry you have gained widespread respect within the industry for your ability and integrity. Your many outstanding accomplishments are a credit to the sugar industry. It is an honor to add your name to the roll of distinguished recipients of the Dyer Memorial Award," the Sugar Club citation said.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Roney spoke to what drove him in his career.

"Thousands of family farms are the backbone of our industry. If I were to describe the purpose of my career, it would be that I strove to help American sugar farmers be able to pass their farms along to their sons and daughters," Roney said.

He talked about the sense of family in the sugar industry and the many people who helped him along his career, the importance of people who can disagree "thoughtfully and respectfully," and the sacrifices made by his wife, Deborah, in raising their children Kyle and Alison.

Roney also extended pieces of wisdom to the audience. The first was to "refute misinformed attacks on sugar and health." He noted that sugar consumption often is the scapegoat for rising obesity rates, but sugar consumption has dropped at a time when obesity rates have grown.


"Folks looking for a single culprit ignore that fact and that per capita consumption of all foods has risen about 20% since the 1970’s. More calories, less exercise —could this be a reason Americans are heavier than ever?" he suggested.

His other piece of advice he called "more of a request":

"While sectors of our sugar producing, marketing, trading, and consuming industries may differ on many occasions, please continue to do so thoughtfully and with respect for each other. Families may squabble, but we are a family, in any event. Let’s revel in the privilege of providing Americans with such a joy-inducing product as sugar."

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