Posts Tagged: Dan Sumner
The cost of avocados, tomatoes, berries, meat and countless other foods - both imported from Mexico and produced in California - could go up if new tariffs on Mexican products are imposed, reported Gosia Wozniacka in Civil Eats.
Last week, President Trump tweeted that the U.S. "will impose a 5% tariff on all goods coming into our country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our country, stop."
"I assume Mexico will retaliate," said Dan Sumner, director of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center. "Let's all hope this is a bluff and as summer progresses we'll be OK."
The United States is Mexico's largest ag trading partner. In 2019, $25.9 billion worth of ag goods came over the border from Mexico to the U.S. That amounts to 78 percent of Mexican ag exports of products like avocados, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, onions, bananas, mangoes, limes and berries, to name a few.
Americans have become accustomed to purchasing a wide range of foods year round. Retailers look to Mexico, with its extended growing season, to supply fruits and vegetables in fall and winter when they aren't available in the U.S. The timing of the tariff threat makes it somewhat less damaging since we're entering the season when more produce is grown in California and other states, the article said.
Sumner said the real victims of the tariffs could be farmworkers.
"The [large] farmers have built this [cost] in. They have lost millions on other things before, it's part of doing business. But for farmworkers, if a family misses a couple of weeks of work and pay, that could be significant," Sumner said.
In the California agriculture industry, the climate change discussion is less about whether disruption is coming than it is about how farmers will adapt, reported John Cox in the Bakersfield Californian.
Cox spoke to a Delano farmer who doesn't like debating climate change, but he has thought a lot about how to deal with it.
"As a grower, you just take it as it comes," he said.
"Everybody I know in agriculture says, 'Yes, the climate's changing and adaptation to that climate change is crucial.' So that's not controversial," said Dan Sumner, director of the Agricultural Issues Center, a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources statewide program. "At the same time, that doesn't mean they buy into every public policy proposal for mitigating the climate change."
Climate change is likely to prompt farmers to grow different varieties or different crops.
But even as California agriculture may struggle to adjust to climate change, so will its competitors overseas, Sumner said. The real question is whether the state's farming climate will remain superior in relation to that of other countries producing the same crops, he said.
In the Washington Post, Adrian Higgins reported on the impact of climate change to agriculture across the nation. From Appalachia to North Carolina to California, milder winters are inducing earlier flowering of temperate tree fruits, exposing the blooms to increasingly erratic frost, hail and other adverse weather.
Breeders are working to develop new varieties, said Katherine Jarvis-Shean, a UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor in Yolo County. But new trees typically take two decades of methodical breeding to create, exposing existing varieties to the vagaries of shifting winters and springs.
“The consumer will begin to know it's happening in the coming 10 to 20 years,” Jarvis-Shean said.
China imports quite a bit of wine, however, very little comes from the United States. At the same time, per capita consumption of wine in China remains very low. So why are California winemakers anxious about tariffs newly imposed by China on U.S. wine? Because China's wine consumption habits are expected to change, reported UC ANR experts in an article posted on The Conversation and NPR websites.
"China is the world's fastest-growing wine market and is expected to soon become the second largest (wine market), after the U.S.," wrote UC Davis wine economist Julian M. Alsten, director of UC ANR's Agricultural Issues Center Daniel Sumner, and post-doctoral scholar Olena Sambucci.
Economists who have studied these markets project further significant growth in China's demand for wine, including premium wine imports, the article said.
"This would make getting pushed out of China especially troubling at a time when global per capita wine consumption has been declining, especially in Europe," the authors wrote.
China has threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs on American exports following President Trump's plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Agricultural exports are in the crosshairs, reported Thaddeus Miller in the Merced Sun-Star.
China's tariffs would first hit U.S. products such as avocados and nuts with 15 percent duties, the article says.
"It doesn't really matter which one it is, whether it's alfalfa, almonds or wherever it may go," said David Doll, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County. "They're as much political as they are anything else."
The potential tariff would have a significant impact on Merced County, where almonds are the second largest commodity valued at $578.5 million in 2016.
The back and forth trade disputes happening between the U.S. and China make trade less predictable and could lead to disruptions that impact California food and wine producers, even before potential Chinese tariffs go into effect, said Dan Sumner, director of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center in an interview with Julia Mitric of Capital Public Radio.
If China hits the U.S. with a 15 percent tariff on wine, that's a problem, Sumner said.
"We may think California wine is special, but not everybody does,” Sumner said. "And if it's 15 percent more expensive than it used to be because of the tariff, there'll be a substantial reduction in how much gets sold in China."
Sumner said the proposed tariffs would likely hurt California's tree nut growers more than its wine producers because a larger proportion of almonds and pistachios are exported.
In 2016, the value of pistachios sold to China was $530 million, more than three times the value of wine exports to that country, Mitric reported.
townhall at the World Ag Expo last week with visits with farmers and tours of farmland in the San Joaquin Valley. "I need all the education I can get," Perdue said at Harris Woolf California Almonds facility in Coalinga, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times by Geoffrey Mohan.
"When he say things to Trump, Trump can hear him saying, 'Be careful about your constituency. Unless you want to see Nancy Pelosi in power, you better see to the reelections in the Central valley," Sumner said.
One of the reelections is for Rep. Devin Nunez (R-Tulare), a strong Trump supporter who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has to ponder whether he wants the Nunez or some Democrat leading the committee's Russia investigation, Sumner said.