A recent event in Acampo, just outside Sacramento, was hosted by Farmers for Free Trade and the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) to emphasize the importance of foreign markets for California agriculture. Several ag groups have voiced concern regarding the potential impact of several different trade negotiations along with the effects of the increased Chinese tariffs.
“In a lot of discussion in trade, which has kind of been a little frustrating for California farmers, it’s really been focused on Midwestern crops,” said CFBF President Jamie Johansson, “and this is a time really to reach out to this administration in Washington, D.C. to work with us in terms of making things better for California producers.”
Johansson was joined at the event by, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, Farmers for Free Trade Executive Director Brian Kuehl and other representatives from Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyard, Lodi Farming, and the California League of Food Processors. Discussions were focused on how much California agriculture relies on the export market and the importance of understanding the impact that increasing tariffs have on producers.
The Chinese tariff increase is a particular concern for California. Johansson noted reports of some nut producers and processors having a conflict with their products that were already in transit to China, along with some wineries losing orders the day that the tariffs were announced. “These tariffs have real impacts, they’re having impacts now, but we remain hopeful that there will be a quick resolution,” said Johansson.
USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and his team were also recently in California to hear from over 15 different agricultural groups about the importance of foreign markets. “It was great to have the Under Secretary frank-talk about the realities of a global economy and geopolitical ramifications that now affect trade…so a realistic look at how do we strengthen our farms, our voice globally,” Johansson stated.
Listen to Johansson’s interview below.