Sugar producers and sweetener users at the International Sweetener Colloquium in Orlando this week sparred over the impact, success and future of the U.S. sugar program, with such debate likely to intensify as the U.S. farm bill moves closer to markup sometime this year. “Last farm bill alone, every single commodity program went through a modernization reform measure except sugar,” said Bill O’Conner, agriculture policy expert, Watkinson Miller PLLC, and a senior agricultural policy advisor to the Sweetener Users Association, which sponsors the Colloquium and represents sweetener users, including food and beverage manufacturers. “Lack of modernization has led to a program that is one-sided, benefiting only a small group of sugar processors. This Congress has an opportunity to change this inequity by modernizing the sugar program in the 2018 farm bill through modest reforms that will benefit all – growers, processors, consumers and businesses large and small.”