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Raising Cane in the 'GladesThe Global Sugar Trade and the Transformation of Florida$

Gail M. Hollander

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226349503

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226349480.001.0001

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(p.284) Appendix B Key Legislation, Trade Agreements, and Policies in the Transformation of the Florida Everglades

(p.284) Appendix B Key Legislation, Trade Agreements, and Policies in the Transformation of the Florida Everglades

Source:
Raising Cane in the 'Glades
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press

McKinley Tariff, 1890

This bill admitted sugar free of duty, but it also provided a two-cent-per-pound bounty to American sugar growers. The bounty supported the expansion of domestic cane and beet production, and the absence of import duties encouraged the Cuban industry to expand. It also set the average ad valorem tariff rate for imports to the United States at 48.4 percent in order to protect domestic agriculture. However, domestic farmers were adversely affected because of retaliatory tariffs by foreign countries, which made U.S. agricultural exports less competitive.

Wilson-Gorman Tariff, 1894

This law slightly reduced the U.S. tariff rates from those set by the McKinley Tariff in 1890 and marked a return to the pre-1890 system. It had particularly harmful consequences for Cuba's industry, because sugar was now subject to import duties. Cuba retaliated with duties on U.S. imports, putting its citizens in a double squeeze of declining export revenue (and associated reductions in wages and employment) and rising import prices. The “Sugar Trust” of refiners was the biggest beneficiary of the legislation.

Dingley Tariff, 1897

The Dingley Act of 1897 raised tariffs to counteract the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, which had lowered rates. It placed duties on imported sugar equivalent to the duties paid to sugar producers in foreign countries. The tariff remained in place for the next seventeen years, during which the beet industry flourished. It further disadvantaged Cuban sugarcane producers, however, by providing incentives for U.S. beet-sugar producers to supply the domestic market.

Food and Fuel Control Act, 1917

Also known as the Lever Act, it granted President Woodrow Wilson certain powers during World War I, which he exercised to create the U. S. Food Administration. The Food Administration was established to assure the supply and distribution of food; facilitate transportation of food and prevent monopolies and hoarding; and maintain control of food using voluntary agreements and licensing. Future U.S. President Herbert Hoover was appointed head of the U. S. Food Administration, wielding power delegated to him by Wilson.

U.S. Sugar Equalization Board, 1918

Using the authority provided under the 1917 Food and Fuel Control Act, President Wilson created the U. S. Sugar Equal ization Board, with Herbert Hoover as chairman. Its aim was to secure foreign-produced sugar in cooperation with the allied countries. The board, which was dissolved in 1920, was authorized to purchase the Cuban sugar crops of 1918 and 1919.

Tariff Acts of 1921 and 1922

Known as the Emergency Tariff Act and Fordney-McCumber Act, respectively, these tariffs raised the duty on raw sugar from Cuba from 1.0048 cents a pound to 1.6 and then to 1.7648 cents a pound. This encouraged increased production in the continental United States and its island possessions, especially the Philippines. Despite the decline in exports to the United States, Cuba was able to maintain its production by filling shortages in other regions.

Smoot-Hawley Act, 1930

This legislation raised tariffs on more than twenty thousand imported goods, including sugar. It raised the duty on Cuban sugar to two cents per pound. The subsequent drop in U.S. demand devastated Cuba's production, which declined by 50 percent. The tariff offered only a modicum of protection to U.S. sugar producers; by 1932 the pre-duty price of sugar was the lowest in history, the duty was the highest since 1890, the duty-paid price was the lowest on record, and consumption had declined.

Agricultural Adjustment Act,1933

This act was intended to regulate the declining terms of trade experienced by American farmers during the Great Depression. The goal was what eventually became known as “parity”; that is to achieve an equitable exchange relationship between agriculture and industry and between on-farm and off-farm citizens. Indices of prices paid for goods and services in relation to prices of agricultural commodities during the base period (initially 1910–14) were developed to estimate parity. The instruments to accomplish parity included direct payments for the voluntary reduction of acreage and the use of tax revenue to expand markets and reduce agricultural commodity surpluses. The act created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to oversee the program. Congress ammended it in 1935 to insure that imports did not interfere with the domestic farm program. The U.S. Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in 1936.

Jones-Costigan Act, 1934

Also known as the Sugar Act, it added sugarcane and sugar beets to the AAA list of basic agricultural commodities. It applied a new method for regulating the domestic sugar industry and controlling sugar imports that lasted for forty years. The act required the secretary ofagriculture to determine sugar consumption for the continental United States. Once consumption was determined, the quantity of sugar required was divided among domestic and foreign producers through a

Sugar Act, 1937

Retained much ofJones-Costigan, but placed certain conditions on the distribution ofbenefit payments, such as the elimination ofchild labor and not producing above the alotted quota. In addition, it raised the quota of mainland cane by more than 50 percent above that of the 1934 act, largely to account for increased production potential. The effect was to separate domestic sugar prices from those in the rest of the world.

International Sugar Agreement, 1937

Twenty-one countries accounting for 85 to 90 percent of world sugar production signed an agreement that limited expansion of importing countries' domestic sugar industries. In exchange, exporting countries pledged to observe their quotas. The essential aim of this and subsequent agreements was to stablize the price of sugar in the global “free market” by limiting the quantity exported. World War II made the agreement inoperative.

Agricultural Adjustment Act, 1938

This act rectified the unconstitutionality of the 1933 act and combined some of the successful features of the 1936 Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. It was designed to deal with price and income crises resulting from surplus production. Instruments included crop insurance, parity payments, nonrecourse loans to farmers to keep prices stable, and marketing quotas for certain commodities. The 1938 act remained the foundation for farm support programs for the next three decades.

Wartime Measures,1939–1947

See appendix C.

Sugar Act, 1948

Replaced the 1937 Sugar Act, which was due to terminate on December 31, 1947, unless amended. It retained the basic features of the previous acts, but allocated domestic quotas as tonnages rather than percentages of total projected consumption. The bill gave special consideration to Cuba's role in supplying allies during the war. Thus Cuban producers benefited from a provision granting that any consumption increases would be filled by foreign producers and another that gave Cuba 95 percent of any deficit in the Philippine's quota. Cuba's share of the latter amounted to nearly two million tons of sugar over the first five years.

International Sugar Agreement, 1953

Similar to the 1937 agreement in that it assigned basic quotas to sugar producers for sugar exported to the “free” market. Trade exempted by the agreement included imports into the United States and USSR (from certain East European countries). The largest change in the agreement was an increase in Cuba's quota of 140 percent.

Sugar Act, 1956 amendments

Introduced extensive changes in the quota system, notably that domestic producers' share of consumption increases went from zero in the 1948 act to 55 percent. It additionally benefited mainland cane growers through the government's purchase of a hundred thousand tons of sugar to be distributed to developing countries. Cuba's quota share was reduced to less than the 1948 allotment.

International Sugar Agreement, 1958

This agreement increased the number of member nations, including Brazil for the first time. Declining sugar prices forced a reduction of 80 percent in basic quotas in 1959 and of 85 percent in 1960. The quota provisions were suspended in 1961 after Cuba, under the Castro government, exported a quantity of sugar that exceeded its permitted quota.

Sugar Act, 1960 and 1961 amendments

Following the 1959 Castro Revolution in Cuba, the law was amended to give the president the authority to determine the size of Cuba's quota. By proclamation, the president reduced Cuba's share to zero the same day that he signed the amended law. Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines were among the biggest foreign beneficiaries. The 1961 amendment included a provision that gave special quota consideration to Western Hemisphere countries and countries purchasing U.S. agricultural commodities.

International Sugar Agreement, 1968

Neither the United States nor the European Economic Community were members of this agreement. This meant that EEC countries could export as much as they wished. Cuba's quota was nearly double that of any other exporting member, and its exports to Communist countries were exempt from the quota.

Sugar Act, 1971 amendments

The act was amended to cover the period through December 31, 1974. The major change concerned the way the secretary of agriculture estimated consumption requirements. Specifically, the secretary was required to adjust the consumption estimates when sugar prices rose or fell 4 percent or more above or below the annual price objective. The quota system that had been in place for forty-one years ended when the law was allowed to expire at the end of 1974.

Florida Water Resources Act, 1972

This legislation created five water-management districts in Florida. In 1976, a voter-approved state constitutional amendment gave these districts the authority to levy property taxes to help fund management activities. The South Florida Water Management District oversees the K-O-E watershed and operates and maintains approximately eighteen hundred miles of canals and levees and twenty-five major pumping stations. It is a key agency in the Everglades restoration plan.

Agriculture and Food Act, 1981

The 1981 Farm Bill was intensely fought as the newly elected Reagan Administration attempted to curtail agricultural spending. Though the bill was less expensive than the 1977 version, it retained the system of target prices and loans and included a new sugar price-support program.

Save Our Everglades Program, 1983

Launched by Florida Governor Bob Graham to make “the Everglades look and function by the year 2000 more as it did at the turn of the century.” Central to this goal is restoring freshwater flow to the lower Everglades, including the national park. In 1984 Governor Graham established a state resource and management committee and met with the environmental community to organize the Everglades Coalition.

Food Security Actof 1985

The 1985 Farm Bill was sometimes referred to as the “Swamp-buster,” because of provisions that denied program benefits to producers who converted wetlands after December 23, 1985. The bill provides price supports for sugar producers, primarily through import restrictions and nonrecourse loans. Like previous farm bills, it requires the secretary of agriculture to estimate domestic sugar consumption in determining the level of imports allowed.

Florida Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Act of 1987

This act required Florida water-management districts to consider all of their water bodies within their boundaries and rank them in priority, according to two categories. For those in pristine condition, districts had to devise a strategy to maintain them, and for degraded water bodies, they had to develop a plan to restore and maintain them. SWIM set targets for how much phosphorous might enter Lake Okeechobee and specified a model to measure flows. It also contained provisions to monitor and maintain the quality of water flowing into Everglades National Park.

Federal water quality lawsuit against Florida, 1988

The federal government, through the action of acting U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, sued Florida's Department ofEnviron-mental Regulation and the South Florida Water Management District for failing to enforce water-quality laws in the Everglades. The suit was eventually dropped after water-quality concerns were addressed in Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Protection Act, 1991.

Food Agricultural Conservation and Trade Act 0/1990

The 1990 Farm Bill continued price supports for sugar producers through import restrictions and nonrecourse loans. Import quotas keep prices above loan rates. If the secretary of agriculture determines that the amount of sugar imported is less than 1.25 million short tons for any fiscal year, the secretary must establish marketing allotments on domestically produced sugarcane and sugar beets at a level that will raise sugar imports to the specified level. If marketing allotments are imposed upon domestic sugar, they also must be established for crystalline fructose made from corn.

Florida MarjoryStoneman Douglas Everglades Protection Act, 1991

This bill mandated that the South Florida Water Management District implement a surface-water improvement and management plan for improving water quality in the Everglades. Douglas asked to have her name removed from the legislation four years after its passage because she felt it was too favorable to the sugar industry.

Florida Everglades Forever Act, 1994

The Everglades Forever Act, passed in 1994, builds upon the plan of the preceding act by establishing a restoration program based on construction, research, and regulation. Specifically, the 1994 act calls for a concerted effort to control the growth of exotic species and for the creation of stormwater-treatment areas to filter phosphorous from agricultural runoff before it reaches the Everglades. In addition, farmers must use best-management practices to minimize the amount of nutrients used on or discharged from their fields.

Water Resources Development Acts, 1986, 1990, 1996, and 2000

This series of acts directs the U.S. Corps of Engineers on its projects. The WRDA of 1986 is considered the omnibus act; most of the provisions in subsequent acts either amend or add to its sections. Of the many WRDAs, three have particular importance for Everglades restoration. The 1990 WRDA directed the Corps to undertake a feasibility study regarding the restoration of the natural watercourse of the Kissimmee River. A section of the 1996 act, entitled “Everglades and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration,” directed the Corps to plan and implement projects for the restoration of the K-O-E system. It gives the Department of the Interior authority to participate in restoration projects and designates the secretary of the interior as the chair of the newly created South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The 2000 WRDA approved the CERP as the organizing framework for modifying the C#x03B8; SF Project so as to restore the K-O-E system. In general, it directed that the plan be implemented to protect water quality and quantity in the “South Florida ecosystem.”It provided federal funds for a number of pilot and initial projects in the restoration process.

Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act, 1996

The 1996 Farm Bill offered sugar producers nonrecourse loans and eliminated domestic sugar marketing assessments. In general, the sugar industry was exempted from the agricultural subsidy reforms implemented by this bill and continued to receive federal price supports. Marketing allotments that were part of the 1990 Farm Bill were not continued.

Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002

This act provides for nonrecourse price-support loans as under the 1996 Farm Bill. It uses marketing allotments, used in the 1990 but not the 1996 act, to keep domestic production at specified levels, with import shortfalls divided between domestic beet and cane. Like prior farm bills, the 2002 Farm Bill uses import quotas to restrict the supply of sugar that enters the United States.

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