Feb 17, 2011 11:49 PM by Shawn Kline

High sugar prices help LA farmers pay debt

For the past 30 years, sugar cane farmers say they've struggled to keep business afloat but now, prices are on the rise.
So what does that mean for farmers? And for you?
"Without this price increase, we would be in trouble," farmer Charlie Levert said.
Levert has seen technology and gas prices shoot through the roof over the past twenty years while sugar prices stayed firm.
"We're making some money." Levert says, "so we have spend it or the government's going take it."
A world-wide shortage is jacking-up prices. On February 9th, prices hit 40-cents a pound- the highest it's been since October of 1980.
LSU AgCenter Agent Alfred Guidry says that's good for Louisiana sugar farmers; it's letting them buy new equipment and, in some cases, replacing technology that's over 30-years-old.
"Some might be used (equipment), but still better equipment than what they had," Guidry said.
"It's about time we make a little bit of money," Levert said reflecting on 30 years of struggling.
'Sweet' for farmers but 'bitter' for candy lovers.
Some specialty stores say they've been forced to raise prices for the first time in nearly a decade.
Then, earlier this month, the largest cyclone in more than a century devastated one of the world's top sugar exports in Australia.
"This is just something we have to wait out." Guidry says, "catastrophes in other parts of the world could cause the price to go up."
It's not just Australia hit hard by disasters either- India, China and Brazil are suffering droughts as well.


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