Head of confectionery maker urges N.J. to support sugar act

As one of the 50 largest privately held companies in the state of New Jersey, I am constantly seeking ways to expand opportunities for our company and our nearly 1,000 New Jersey employees.

Twelve years ago, we opened a manufacturing facility in Franklin Township, which now produces over 8 million pounds of product monthly and some 100 million packages of our popular snack and confections brands.

As we look into the future, we see continued growth for our products and brands domestically and abroad.

But, policymakers can help. For New Jersey food manufacturers, a proud industry that accounts for over 20,000 employees across nearly 700 businesses, we need Congress to reform the sugar program during the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process.

This subsidy program tilts the playing field dramatically in favor of a select few sugar processors scattered throughout the country, while scores of food manufacturers and small businesses in the confections, dairy and baking industries are left with higher sugar prices. The 13 sugar conglomerates are eager to see this program sustained. And they have done incredible work ensuring Congress continues to reauthorize it, especially when you consider that, not only has it remained in place for over 80 years, but it is also the only commodity program to have never undergone a single reform.

And that is what frustrates manufacturers across the state. We produce and distribute some of the most popular confections and snacks throughout North America and the world by consistently adapting to the changing habits of consumers, as well as those products offered by our competitors.

But sugar growers are fully insulated from any market forces. Specifically, this program restricts the supply of imported sugar, where right now on the world market it is 50 percent cheaper than it is here in the U.S.

Further, the U.S. government provides artificial price supports to guarantee big companies’ profits. And, finally, Congress has set forth policies that require the government to purchase any surplus supplies of domestically produced sugar, which is then used to make ethanol.

There is momentum right now, as several bipartisan leaders have introduced the Sugar Policy Modernization Act (H.R. 4265/S. 2086). This legislation will modernize the program, and usher in a new era of equitable pricing on sugar, comparable to the price on world markets.

Now is the time to change this program, once and for all. I urge our New Jersey delegation to step forward and cosponsor H.R. 4265/S. 2086 so that proud New Jersey producers such as our company can continue to create and provide good jobs and give back to our local New Jersey communities.

Michael G. Rosenberg is the CEO and president of Promotion in Motion Cos. in Allendale.