In an effort to get rid of surplus sugar and produce green fuel, the US Department of Agriculture has sold a large block of the sweetener to ethanol makers. This article from Ethanol Producer Magazine says the government sold the sugar rather than just forfeiting it under the Feedstock Flexibility Program for Bioenergy Producers.
The program requires the USDA to purchase sugar and sell it as feedstock for bioenergy producers in order to avoid forfeiture of sugar pledged as collateral by processors when securing nonrecourse community loans for them Commodity Credit Corp. Sugar purchased by the CCC under the program is sold on a competitive basis to bioenergy producers. The regulation establishing the program requires that purchasers use the sugar to produce biofuel, including ethanol, butanol or other marketable biofuels as CCD determines.
In this sale, USDA sold a reported 136 thousand tons of refined beet sugar to bioenergy producers through FFP, about a third of the nearly 377,000 tons that was offered by processors. While the government sold the sugar at a pretty steep loss of more than $53 million, that is less than if the USDA had to forfeit the sugar without the proceeds at all.