Released in association with the May 2 hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade
“I respectfully urge lawmakers to help growers, manufacturers and other key stakeholders chart a mutual path forward for sugar policy during this 2023 farm bill debate. There are targeted reforms we can pursue to unleash new production and unlock new business partnerships, but leadership is needed.”
Hi, I’m Christine Lantinen, president of Minnesota-born confectionery company Maud Borup. Thank you for the opportunity to share our story as Congress again takes on the important work of passing a farm bill.
St. Paul resident Maud Borup founded our business in 1907 preceding the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, operating out of her home and growing a reputation for excellence and craftsmanship. Today, Maud’s namesake company remains women-owned, is also veteran-owned and specializes in premium chocolate and candy manufacturing, organic and gluten-free treats and seasonal food gifts. It is a great honor for me to carry on this tradition.
Maud Borup reflects the best of today’s confectionery industry as we also honor the past. Our two manufacturing facilities in Minnesota and one facility in Wisconsin use state-of-the-art equipment to help produce sweet treats more safely, more consistently and timelier than ever. Digital platforms track priority orders across the complex supply chains we depend on. And in 2022, Maud Borup was proud to announce recognition as a Certified B Corporation, reflecting our commitment to high standards of governance and environmental stewardship.
As we have advanced to meet today’s moment, there is at least one challenge that founder Maud and I would both immediately recognize:
The nearly 90-year-old U.S. sugar program.
For Maud Borup and other food manufacturers, the cost of sugar today is extraordinarily high. As I write, American businesses and consumers are paying 2.5 times more for sugar than the rest of the world, including our foreign competitors. Inflation certainly accounts for part of that, but sugar prices in America have long soared on the wings of the U.S. sugar program, which elevates prices by design.
The sugar program restricts both the domestic sugar supply and what is available for import. Constraining the market in this way pushes costs upward for businesses and ties the hands of both government and industry to address urgent concerns, such as supply shortages that are growing in frequency. Minnesota’s farm and food economy is remarkably innovative, diverse and resilient, but I am concerned that we are heading into a shared future with less growth potential by hanging on to decades-old habits.
I respectfully urge lawmakers to help growers, manufacturers and other key stakeholders chart a mutual path forward for sugar policy during this 2023 farm bill debate. There are targeted reforms we can pursue to unleash new production and unlock new business partnerships, but leadership is needed. In doing so, we can support both the farmers who grow our food and the many businesses in Minnesota and across America that make specialty products with the harvest. As farmers, manufacturers and consumers alike are experiencing high costs, now is the time to move forward together. As Maud Borup has progressed in 116 years, let us be prudent in ensuring our sugar policy is advancing as well.
Thank you for your consideration, and please know that I stand ready to help make the 2023 farm bill successful for Minnesota in any way I can.