New trade agreement could impact Valley farmers

FRESNO, Calif.

President Obama and South Korea President Lee toured a General Motors plant outside Detroit. Lee told workers the free trade agreement doesn't mean their jobs will go overseas. He said, "I want you to give you this promise and that is the FTA will not take away any of your jobs. Rather, it will create more jobs for you and your family."

The trade agreement also opens new doors for Valley grown produce by lowering tariffs. The trade agreement makes it easier for farmers to export ag products to South Korea.

Over 350 crops are grown in Fresno County alone. South Korea is already a major consumer of Valley fruits and vegetables.

Nat DiBuduo heads the marketing cooperative Allied Grape Growers. Nat said, "We think it will have a major impact because we export so much fresh fruit, nut crops and wine."

Allied Grape Growers was one of 24 ag organizations which lobbied for the trade agreement with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

DiBuduo said, "Other countries around the world have made similar trade pacts with these countries so they were getting in and we weren't. So it was time we had a fair playing field for all of our growers."

Local farmers and ranchers said they're excited by the new marketing opportunities.

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