California Growers in a World Market
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Paul Wenger, a Stanislaus County almond and walnut grower told California Ag Today recently that California growers have often suffered with tariffs. “The proposed trade agreements such as TTIP and TPP along with NAFTA would have helped solve tariff problems,” he said. “But TTIP and TPP are gone.”
“The Trump administration may try to negotiate a bilateral agreement with other countries, and he seems to be working on NAFTA with Mexico,” noted Wenger, who is also the past president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
At the end of the day, Wenger hopes that calmer minds will persevere and we’ll see these trade negotiations get done and we’ll move forward.
“Because we are in a world market,” Wenger explained. “As much as President Trump puts tariffs on steel and aluminum … saying that we’re going to bring back our rust belt, well, we’re not, because it’s not the market that has killed the steel industry, it has been the regulations. Our steel industry can’t produce at a level that people are willing to pay.”
There are a lot of crops that can only be grown in a Mediterranean climate. There are only five Mediterranean climates in the world; California is one of them and the largest producer of specialty crops.
The central part of Chile can produce a lot of the crops that we have today. But other than that, it’s the south tip of Australia and South Africa and the Mediterranean region itself.
“When you really think about who can produce, as long as we have the water, not only do we have to worry about marketing our product, we have to also fight for our water so we can produce those crops. And long-term, people are going to find a path to California for the crops that we grow here,” Wenger said.