Question of the Week
Answer: Thank you for requesting information from ATTRA on sugarcane production as a possible crop.
Please refer to the ATTRA publication Sorghum Syrup.
Recent free-trade agreements (CAFTA, NAFTA) have made U.S. sugar production unprofitable. These agreements allow unrestricted access to the American sugar market from many other countries. As a result, the 200-year-old sugar industry in Iberia Parish, LA, has seen mill closures and cane farmers looking for other enterprises.(1)
Many U.S. manufacturers of sugar-containing products are considering relocating to Canada and Mexico, where less expensive sugar is available for processing. As a result, domestic marketing allotments and import quotas are likely to disappear altogether from the 2007 Farm Bill.(2) About half of U.S. production has come from cane, and half from sugar beets. For U.S. home-scale production, sorghum has been traditionally processed, rather than cane.
1) SoSARE Staff. 2007. Farmers as entrepreneurs. Common Ground. Autumn. P. 3.
2) Haley, Stephen, and Mir Ali. 2007. U.S. sugar program at crossroads. Amber Waves. September.
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