CDFA Requests Proposals on Increasing Export Trade

Request for Proposals for Calif. State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Supporting Growth for California Small Business

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting proposals for the California State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) – a federally funded grant program of the U.S. Small Business Administration to increase exports activities among small businesses.  Funding associated with this program will support trade development and enhancement activities that help small businesses enter or expand their exporting activity to foreign markets.

As the program administrator, CDFA is seeking project proposals from qualified entities to conduct export development activities in foreign markets to assist California businesses in trade expansion. Activities may include foreign trade missions and trade show exhibitions. Suitable promoted product categories include but are not limited to: aircraft /automotive parts; construction; manufacturing equipment/technology; medical devices; pharmaceuticals; health and beauty; food and agricultural products; and green/sustainable technologies.

Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit or provide profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Federal funding is dependent on a competitive grant award by the U.S. Small Business Administration to the State of California. Total available federal funding for California activities is estimated at $900,000.

Applications must be submitted via email to grants@cdfa.ca.gov no later than March 6, 2020, 5:00 p.m. (PDT). Further information on the grant program, including timeline and application criteria, are available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/grants/.

Interested applicants are encouraged to attend the STEP webinar on February 26, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. (PDT).  There is not a cost to attend, however, space is limited, and applicants must register in advance. To register, email grants@cdfa.ca.gov with your name and contact information. Further details will be provided with confirmation of registration.

The STEP Program is a partnership between the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship, California State University, San Bernardino, the Los Rios Community College District Center for International Trade and Development and CDFA. The program brings together state, federal, private and non-profit trade promotion organizations to promote export activities among targeted industries. California STEP is funded in part by a U.S. Small Business Administration Grant.

 

Shannon Grove In DC For USMCA Signing

Senate Republican Leader Grove Joins President Donald Trump for Signing of the USMCA

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) was in Washington, D.C. this past week to witness the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) and issued the following statement:

“This is a historic moment for the United States. It is such an honor to join President Trump and to witness the signing of this modern trade agreement. The Central Valley is home to the top three agricultural producing counties in the nation and this 21st century agreement is our country’s commitment to these hardworking farmers, farm workers, and agribusinesses.

“I am thankful for the President’s hard work and persistence on the USMCA. I have worked with his Administration to support the movement of this deal and I am grateful that this historic agreement has been ratified by the United States,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove.

In December 2019, Senator Grove was one of 26 state leaders from across the United States who signed on to a letter urging Congressional leaders to pass the USMCA.

In 2019, Senator Grove introduced Senate Joint Resolution 12 which requested the California State Legislature to support and urge Congress to approve the USMCA. SJR 12 passed out of the California State Senate with bipartisan support.

In an op-Ed published in The Fresno Bee, Senator Grove outlined the importance of the USMCA.

Act Now to Help Pass the USMCA

House to Take First Step Towards Full Ratification of USMCA

Provided by California Farm Bureau Federation

This Thursday, the House will take the first step towards full ratification of the renegotiated NAFTA known as the “US-Mexico-Canada Agreement” (USMCA). California agriculture exports $6.6 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico and supports more than 56,000 jobs.
 
Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017. After President Trump renegotiated NAFTA, the International Trade Commission determined that the USMCA would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and a positive impact on U.S. agriculture. An additional $2.2 billion in exports is expected once this agreement is ratified.
 
Congress must pass USMCA to preserve the proven successes of NAFTA while enjoying greater access to dairy, chicken, and eggs. The agreement has positive updates for fruit exports, improvements in biotechnology, protected geographical indications, and strengthened sanitary/phytosanitary measures.
 
All in all, the USMCA is needed to bring more stability to the volatile trade market. Please reach out today to your U.S. Representative to urge their YES vote on this important agreement.

Click Here: ACT NOW for USMCA House Passage

USMCA Agreement is Backed By Many

Famers, Restaurants, Chefs Urge Passage of USMCA.

Farmers, restaurants and their customers will all benefit from improved trade among the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to a coalition of California agricultural groups, restaurants and chefs. In a letter sent today to the California congressional delegation, the coalition urged approval for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The USMCA would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and enhance the movement of food products on the continent. The coalition letter says the new agreement would benefit California farmers by improving market access in Mexico and Canada, and would benefit restaurants by assuring availability of high-quality ingredients and affordable dining experiences made possible through trade with the neighboring countries.

“Restaurants and farmers need each other, and we all need the USMCA to assure the continued strength of the food chain,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said. “By helping California farmers and agricultural businesses, and by enhancing North American trade in food and farm products, the USMCA will keep agricultural products affordable for all of us who eat.”

Patrick Mulvaney, chef-owner of Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, urged Congress to support what he called a “vital piece of legislation.”

“Our success in California food is directly related to the hard work and diligence of our farmers,” Mulvaney said. “The USMCA will ensure that their efforts will pay off, for their families, workforce and consumers.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 36,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.

 

Rep. Josh Harder: Trade War With India Must End for Almond Industry

India is Top Export Destination for Almonds, Worth $650 Million Annually

News Release

Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) released the following statement after India imposed retaliatory tariffs up to 70 percent on American products, including almonds. Rep. Harder’s district is one of the largest producers of almonds in the country, and India is the top export destination for the product.

Josh Harder
Josh Harder

“This trade war has to end. The president is shooting from the hip on his trade policy and it’s Central Valley almond farmers that are left holding the bag. India is our top export partner and we just can’t afford to take this hit. I’m going to continue pushing the administration and the USDA to stop this devastating cycle of retaliatory tariffs. We need to be supporting our farmers, not cutting off our markets and depressing our economy.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States exported over $650 million worth of almonds to India in 2018.

 

 

Almond Growers Helped In Trade Dispute

Almond Grower and Board Chair Holly King Attends White House Briefing with President

News Release

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced almonds will be included in the administration’s new trade mitigation package. This package aims to continue the support of farmers and ranchers impacted by delayed negotiations and trade disruption with China.

Almond Board Chair Holly A. King attended a briefing at the White House recently with President Donald J. Trump and representatives from other major farm groups to discuss the trade mitigation package.trade

“It is an honor to represent the California almond industry at the White House briefing with President Trump and express appreciation for his efforts to ease the burden of the trade tariffs on California almond growers,” King said. “We have invested heavily in developing the market for California almonds in China for more than 20 years and hope the Administration is successful in negotiating a new trade deal soon so we can get back to business as usual.”

The $16 billion package includes $14.5 billion for the Market Facilitation Program, $1.4 billion in surplus commodity purchases through the Food Purchase and Distribution Program and $100 million in Agricultural Trade Promotion funding. Almonds will be included in the Marketing Facilitation Program. According to the USDA release, “Tree nut producers, fresh sweet cherry producers, cranberry producers and fresh grape producers will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of production.”

The Almond Board has worked closely with the Almond Alliance of California throughout the developing tariff situation to ensure the voice of the California almond industry is heard.

“The Almond Board and Almond Alliance have been actively engaged with USDA, the US Trade Representative and Congress regarding the impact of this trade disruption on almonds. The Alliance has led efforts ensuring almonds are included in the second mitigation package,” said Julie Adams, Vice President of Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs at the Almond Board. “We look forward to working with USDA in leveraging these funds to best benefit the entire almond industry and our grower communities.”

Overall, trade disputes have underscored the importance of having diverse, healthy export markets, a position of strength that the California almond industry has long enjoyed. For decades, ABC has supported the industry by making significant investments in foreign market development and expansion. Recently, the Almond Board started marketing programs in Italy, Mexico, Germany and re-entered Japan. ABC also ramped up marketing activity in Germany and India. 

“While we appreciate almonds’ inclusion in the second package, almonds continue to be impacted by the increase in tariffs, and we’ve seen a significant decline in shipments to China, our third-largest export market,” said Adams. “Getting back to normal trade is critical.”

Big Exports Numbers Mean Big Responsibilities for California

California Exported $20 Billion in Food Products in 2016

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

It’s no secret that California’s agricultural exports are a huge part of the state’s economy—but to put it in perspective, over $20 billion worth of food and agricultural products were exported in 2016 alone (the latest figures). With numbers like these, people like Glen Roberts of the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Administration are kept busy.

Roberts, who is part of the Global Markets sector and based in Fresno, not only works with what he calls “easy” exports like Mexico and Canada, but other places across the globe, shipping anything and everything from food to machinery.

exports
Glen Roberts

When it comes to his role in California, Roberts explained, “Our office covers from the top of the Grapevine, Kern County, all the way up to Stanislaus County from San Louis Obispo over to Nevada.”

His sector, which handles more of the commercial side of things, acts as a gateway to other government programs that help out with international trade.

Although Roberts’ main focus is commercial, he’s still one of the go-to guys in agriculture exports.

“What happened when the almond prices dropped? I got the calls because Foreign Ag Service doesn’t handle contractual disputes,” he said.

Roberts further added, “I had to help out our local almond growers because the buyers didn’t want to pay the higher contracted price. They wanted to buy the new lower market price.”

American Lamb on the Rise

American Lamb Is Part of U.S. Culture

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

American lamb is as popular as ever. California Ag Today recently spoke about lamb with Jim Percival, chair of the American Lamb Board, who is also a lamb producer in Ohio.

“It is part of our culture, and the majority of the folks that raised lamb in the U.S. are family operations, family farms,” Percival said.

Some of the farms are generational: three to five generations old. The American Lamb Board is working to build that domestic demand for lamb. They have seen an increase in the last couple of years.

“We are finding that millennials love American lamb, and that is one of the things that excites us,” Percival said.

John Percival is Chair of the American Lamb Board

“[There’s] our Feed Your Adventure Side campaign; we have also worked really hard to make lamb more approachable, easy to serve, and easy to fix,” he explained.

“The millennials also want something different, and lamb is a wonderful premium protein and they love the taste. They love the texture, they love the meat, and they’re flocking to it.”

Lamb is especially popular in California and other places on the West Coast.

“We still do that lamb jam every year in San Francisco, and that is still a huge event that a lot of people show up to,” Percival said.

After 16 years without open trade, Japan has recently opened back up for American lamb producers. Trade was closed after the BSE scare, and lamb was never able to be exported into Japan. As of two weeks ago, the first load of American lamb was shipped to Japan.

The demand there is very strong; the Japanese want that premium protein product.

“The chefs over there are asking for our product, and we see that as a real opportunity for growth for American lamb,” Percival said.

“Japan was one of our biggest trade partners before it was closed. I’m sure it is going to have a huge impact on the California producers, and the demand there is very strong, but as with anything else, our biggest thing is to make sure that more Americans are eating more American. Lamb,” Percival said.

The American Lamb Board, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and ASI all worked together to open the market back up with Japan.

California Walnuts Face Threatening Tariffs

Big Challenges For the Walnut Industry

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

It takes one glance at current news headlines to know that agriculture trade is a hot-button issue within the industry. Amongst countless exported crops being hindered by tariffs, the California walnut industry is no different. With California English walnuts making up two-thirds of the world’s trade, the California Walnut Commission is on high alert to ensure that growers are protected from tariffs that could damage their markets.

Pamela Graviet, the commission’s senior marketing director, spoke deeper on this issue.

Pam Graviet

“If you look at the three major markets—China, Turkey, and India—where we have tariff issues,” Graviet said, “that represents twenty percent of our total shipments … it’s over $300 million we’re going to lose.”

Thus far, the walnut industry has avoided paying the full tariff direct to China through the “gray market,” or the sales of walnuts through other countries that feed into China.

“But when you’re tariff constrained or in a trade war” Graviet explained, “they are also cracking down on those other routes, and the gray market has also suffered.”

The California Walnut Commission will continue their work to protect nearly 100 handlers and 4,800+ growers that make up the California walnut industry.

Calmer Minds Must Prevail for Trade Talks

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.