Sugar Lobbies

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

sugar lobbies, made up of individuals or firms employed by the sugarcane and sugar-beet industries, act on behalf of these industries to influence government policies and actions that might affect sugar production, transport, labor, or sales and, therefore, profits. The U.S. government generally requires most lobbyists to register, to disclose who pays them and how much, and to list the matters they discuss with officials. The history of sugar lobbying in the United States can be traced back to the late eighteenth century, when Congress first imposed a tariff on imported sugar to generate revenue. Because tariffs are also protectionist, domestic sugar producers lobbied to maintain them and have done so consistently ever since. In the 1930s they also lobbied successfully for acreage allotments and support prices. That such policies remain in place today despite the higher cost of sugar to consumers can be attributed to the steadfast work and consequent political power of sugar-industry lobbying groups, and the obscurity and complexity of agriculture policy to the average American.