Valley farmers want end to trade war

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley growers are feeling the bite of the trade war, with major crops already seeing substantial losses.

Don Cameron, President of the California Food and Agriculture board spoke at a meeting at the Fresno County Farm Bureau. He says shippers aren't taking crops because of price uncertainties, and supplies are piling up.

"If you look at crop by crop, almonds, with the number one crop by acreage in the state is looking at over one and a half billion in losses. Pistachios, 3.8 million, walnuts 3.15 million raisins from our local area here 26 million."

Walnuts are another example. With retaliatory tariffs as high as 100-percent the costs of California walnuts have gone from $3 wholesale to $6 a pound in India.

Pamela Graviet of the California Walnut Commission says the state is the number one producer of walnuts and 60-percent go to China, Turkey, and India. She says rising prices due to tariffs are hurting sales.

"Our shipments have slowed down in those countries significantly."

Democratic Congressman Jim Costa of Fresno says while the tariffs are affecting 20-percent of the nation's farms, in California, international trade is more than twice as big.

"In California 44-percent of our nearly $50-billion a year agricultural production at the farm gate are-- 44-percent of it is dependent on international trade."

Brian Kuehl the Executive Director of the Farmers for Tree Trade group says growers feel like the victims of President Trumps misguided trade efforts.

"What I think is patience is wearing thin, there are people who supported the President and are now getting very concerned and because this trade war doesn't have an apparent end."

The biggest concern for the Walnut Commissions Pamela Graviet right now is how long will this trade war last, and who will survive.

"Everybody's got a different perspective but I think we are in the middle of it and no one knows who the winners and losers are."
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