Artificially Sweetened Agriculture:
Sugar Subsidy Programs in the United States and the European Union
Linda Renee Praast
ABSTRACT: Minimum Agricultural assistance programs, also called farm subsidies and, in the United States, farm bills, represent billions of dollars in spending. Both the Unites States Food Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the most recent Farm Bill) and the European Union Common Agricultural Program (CAP) are complex programs encompassing direct payments, quotas, import and export limits, and loan programs for various agricultural crops and commodities. Both regimes also include specific, intricate programs for sugarcane and sugar beet commodities. The United States (U.S.) government has subsidized sugar production through specific programs since 1977 with the passage of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977. The European Union (EU) first instituted sugar commodity subsidies in 1968, but underwent a dramatic overhaul in 2006 to update the program to address the current state of the world sugar market at the modern needs of the sugar producers. The U.S. Program, in contrast, has remained largely unchanged and still reflects the goals and realities of the sugar industry of 35 years ago. This paper examines the creation and implementation of the United States agriculture subsidy program and the European Union Common Agricultural Program. It looks specifically at the sugar commodity programs, comparing the growth and current effectiveness. Finally, the article will suggest some changes to the U.S. program based on the 2006 modernization of the sugar program in the EU.