From the San Francisco Chronicle:

A series of disasters in Australia's sugarcane region and foul weather in Brazil, India and China have driven up world sugar prices, and many U.S. farmers are making enough to pay off loans and buy new equipment.

The U.S. gets about half of its sugar from sugarcane and the rest from sugar beets. Department of Agriculture import quotas have kept the domestic raw sugar price higher than the world average — and relatively stable — for decades. The U.S. price has been about 20 to 22 cents per pound since the early 1980s, while worldwide, the price has swung from 6 to 21 cents a pound just in the past decade.

High sugar prices help US farmers pay off debt