Ag Today April 5, 2018

Feud between China and Trump leaves farmers worried

Danielle A Martin, damartin@visaliatimesdelta.com Published 1:04 p.m. PT April 4, 2018 | Updated 1:10 p.m. PT April 4, 2018

A feud between China and President Donald Trump places local farmers in the line of fire.

China rolled out new tariffs on ag commodities and other products in retaliation against President Donald Trump’s approval of taxes on imported steel and aluminum.

The new tariffs on American exports could hurt Americans nationwide, and will hit close to home, farmers said. Among commodities impacted the most are Tulare County’s top producing crops including almonds, walnuts, grapes and citrus.

According to the most recent Tulare County Crop and Livestock report, Tulare County almonds were a $301 million crop, walnuts racked in $137 million and grapes brought in $600 million.

American farm exports to China in 2017 totaled nearly $20 billion, including $1.1 billion of pork products. China is a top customer for Tulare County’s farmers and ranchers.

Exports from Tulare County have nearly doubled in the last couple years.

“Tulare County’s exports to China grew quite a bit from 2015, 2.3 million cartons exported, to 2016 with 5.4 million cartons exported,” said Tricia Stever Blatter, executive director of Tulare County Farm Bureau. “Certainly it will impact exporters here in the Central Valley, and particularly Tulare County.”

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