The United States is among the world's largest sugar producers. Unlike most other producing countries, the United States has both large and well-developed sugarcane and sugar beet industries. Since the mid-1990s, sugarcane and sugar beets have accounted for about 45 percent and 55 percent, respectively, of total sugar produced domestically. U.S. sugar production expanded from an average of 6.0 million short tons raw value (STRV) in the early 1980s to an average of 8.1 million STRV since 2005/06. The production increases are due to the adoption of new technologies—such as substantial investment in new processing equipment, adoption of advanced field and storage management practices, and  the use of improved crop varieties-- and acreage expansion (because of higher prices for sugar relative to alternative crops). For more information about the U.S. sugar sector see Background.

The U.S. sugar program uses price supports, domestic marketing allotments, and tariff-rate quotas to influence the amount of sugar available to the U.S. market. For more information about the U.S. sugar program see Policy.

ERS’s Outputs on Sugar and Sweeteners

ERS monitors developments in the sugar market and provides a range of data products and reports covering domestic and international supply, demand, trade, and prices. Periodic, scheduled, outputs include:

  • Sugar Outlook A monthly report that provides supply and use projections for U.S. and global sugar markets based on the most current World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

  • Sugar and Sweeteners Yearbook Tables.  Tables that contain data on U.S. and international sugar and sweetener production, consumption, trade, and prices.
  • Agricultural baseline database An annual report published in February that offers 10-year projections from USDA's annual long-term projections report. The database covers projections for  the four major feed grains (corn, sorghum, barley, and oats) in addition to the other major feed crops and livestock.

In addition to the periodic Outlook reports and data products, ERS publishes reports covering issues important to sugar markets in the United States and around the world. Recent ERS reports relating to sugar include:

Projecting World Raw Sugar Prices

(January 2015) World sugar prices have an important effect on the U.S. sugar sector. This report presents a modeling framework for use in projecting world sugar prices, with detailed treatment of the role of Brazil in world sugar and ethanol sectors. 

World Raw Sugar Prices: The Influence of Brazilian Costs of Production and World Surplus/Deficit Measures

(May 2013) Brazil is the world's leading sugar producer, and over the long term, world sugar prices are determined by production costs in Center/South Brazil, as well as the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Brazilian real.

For more readings on Sugar and Sweeteners see Readings