The American Bakers Association (ABA), Washington, issued a statement on Feb. 5 in response to the Senate’s vote to pass the Farm Bill on Feb. 4.

“The Senate’s vote in favor of passing a new Farm Bill closes a long and contentious chapter in the Farm Bill deliberations,” said Robb MacKie, ABA president and CEO. “While this was touted as a reform-filled Farm Bill, there is still one program hanging on to old habits—the current U.S. sugar program. This program continues to put bakers, consumers and other food manufacturers at a disadvantage and sends thousands of jobs overseas.”

“It’s unfortunate that some in Congress continue to support a program that not only has been the main culprit in the loss of thousands of good paying U.S. food manufacturing jobs, it has also cost the government millions in bailouts and consumers billions in hidden costs,” said Cory Martin, ABA director of government relations. “Supporters of the current program have cried for years that it is run at no cost. While there has always been a hidden cost to consumers, in 2013, the U.S. government bailed out sugar producers to the tune of over $300 million. Even when prices drop, food manufacturers and consumers continue to pay the inflated bill.”

Although the 2014 Farm Bill puts an end to debate on farm policy for five years, ABA says it will continue to aggressively pursue needed agriculture reforms in support of the baking industry. “Now isn’t the time to rest,” said MacKie. “Reformers have made a lot of progress these past few years, and ABA will continue to fight for the interests of the baking industry and the nation’s consumers.”