Department officials said the announcement is one part of USDA’s overall plan of action announced on Jan. 10, 2003, for efficiently operating the domestic sugar program for the remainder of the marketing year.

In the Jan. 10 announcement, overall allotment quantity was increased by 500,000 short tons, raw value – from 7.7 million short tons, raw value to 8.2 million tons, raw value. The beet sugar allotment was increased to 4.457 million tons, raw value, and the cane sugar allotment was increased to 3.743 million tons, raw value. This is the first year of sugar allotments authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill.

“USDA is striving to make program administration as efficient as possible and will closely monitor market performance and critical program variables throughout the remainder of the year to ensure program objectives are met and market balance is maintained,” an official said.

At this time, current beet sector production estimates indicate that the beet sector may not fully utilize its total allotment, leaving a shortfall in sugar supply. The previously announced sale of USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) inventoried sugar should compensate for this shortfall.

Additional details are available on USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov. CCC will conduct a thorough survey of beet and cane sugar production and stocks prior to May 1, 2003, and make allocation reassignments, as necessary.

USDA’s CCC also announced that the proportionate share requirement on Louisiana sugar cane producers is suspended for the 2002 crop (fiscal year 2003). This is because CCC has determined that the amount of sugar estimated to be produced from the 2002-crop sugar cane in Louisiana (1.340 million tons, raw value) will not be sufficient to enable Louisiana sugar cane processors to meet the state’s cane sugar allotment (1.331 million tons, raw value) and provide for a normal carryover.

“These actions apply to all domestic sugar marketed for human consumption in the United States from Oct. l, 2002, through Sept. 30, 2003,” USDA said in a press release. For more information on the announcement, please contact Dan Colacicco at (202) 720-6733. Further information is available from FSA’s Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

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