sugar policy kimmiee candy joseph dutra congressman mark amodei
Congressman Mark Amodei (left) and John Dutra, owner of Kimmiee Candy, stand next to Kimmiee Candy's Sugar supply. Photo provided. 

Reforming the U.S. sugar policy isn’t going to happen over night, and it’s going to take more than one large event to change minds in Washington.

Which is why Joseph Dutra, the owner of Kimmie Candy, had the idea of inviting his local congressman to come see his Reno, Nev.-based factory, and then using the time to discuss the 2012 Farm Bill. It’s one small step that leads to a larger goal.

Dutra hoped to show Congressman Mark Amodei, a Republican, that sugar policy really does affect local food manufacturers, and that it needs to be reformed to create a level playing field for American companies.

While providing  Amodei a tour of the facilities as well as the company’s sugar supply, Dutra explained to the congressman the pitfalls of the subsidies sugar farmers receive currently. Mainly, that companies manufacturing outside of the U.S. are able to buy sugar at the significantly cheaper world sugar price, which hovers today at about $0.19/lb. Meanwhile, American companies pay an average of $0.50 a pound.

That, in turn, makes it hard for U.S-based manufacturers, such as Kimmie Candy, to compete with candy companies that manufacture in other countries and then ship their finished goods into the U.S. market.

Amodei says the tour was an eye opener, and it really helped him understand how the Farm Bill can affect local food manufacturers.