Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural and Resource Economics

Major Professor

Carlos J. O. Trejo-Pech

Committee Members

Christopher N. Boyer, Christopher D. Clark, Karen Lewis DeLong, Dayton M. Lambert

Abstract

U.S. sugar policy is contained in the Agricultural Act of 2014. U.S. sugar policy contains domestic marketing allotments and a tariff-rate quota on foreign sugar imports which results in U.S. raw and wholesale refined beet and cane sugar prices typically being higher than the world sugar prices. Sugar growers are in favor of U.S. sugar policy; however, sugar-using manufacturers (e.g., Hershey Co.) claim that sugar prices have significant impact on their financial performance. Sugar-using companies argue that U.S. sugar policy results in higher costs of production for sugar-containing products. Therefore, the second Chapter of this thesis examines whether changes in the U.S. sugar prices affect the financial performance of U.S. publicly-traded sugar-using agribusinesses. Quarterly accounting and stock market data from COMPUSTAT and the Center for Research in Security Prices are analyzed. The findings indicate that U.S. sugar prices has no major impact on the profitability of sugar-using agribusinesses. However, sugar prices are a small part of firms’ cost of goods sold. In the third Chapter, a sugar related business segment analysis is conducted along with a financial ratio analysis, to provide further insights about whether U.S. sugar prices affect the performance of sugar-using business segments. Annual accounting segments data are gathered from COMPUSTAT Historical Segments and S&P’s Capital IQ. The results of both the financial ratio analysis and the panel data analysis indicate that U.S. sugar prices do not have any impact on sugar-related business segments’ profitability. These findings are consistent with the results of Chapter II.

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