Thu Nov 14, 2013 02:45 PM CST

NEW YORK (Dow Jones) -- The federal government is taking the first step toward reducing its pile of sugar.

USDA plans to sell the sugar it received after domestic processors defaulted on government loans to U.S. ethanol makers, in an effort to recoup some of its losses on the program, according to an emailed announcement by the agency Thursday.

U.S. sugar processors forfeited 296,500 short tons of sugar to the government as collateral on unpaid debt due at the end of September.

Processors, which turn sugar cane and beets into granulated sweetener, can take out operating loans under a government ...

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