July 30 - The Farm Service Agency has announced the final Feedstock Flexibility Program rule was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2013. Congress created the FFP in the 2008 Farm Bill, allowing for the purchase of excess sugar to produce bioenergy in order to avoid forfeiture of sugar pledged as collateral by processors when securing short-term commodity loans from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.
Federal law allows sugar processors to obtain loans from the CCC with maturities of up to nine months when the sugarcane or sugar beet harvest begins. On loan maturity, the sugar processor may repay the loan in full or forfeit the collateral (sugar) to the government to satisfy the loan. The last time sugar forfeitures occurred was in 2004 but atypical market conditions have necessitated USDA to take a number of actions this crop year to manage the sugar supply at the least cost to the federal government. If needed, FFP is an additional tool to manage the domestic sugar surplus.
As part of continuing efforts to manage the surplus, USDA is currently operating a purchase of sugar from domestic sugarcane processors under the Cost Reduction Options of the Food Security Act of 1985, and simultaneously will exchange this sugar for credits offered by refiners holding licenses under the Refined Sugar Re-export Program.
For further background on FFP and other sugar programs administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency, go online to www.fsa.usda.gov/.