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Posts Tagged: Dan Sumner

Agriculture will have to adapt to the changing climate

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.

A honeybee approaches peach blossoms. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Farmers may not agree with new regulations intended to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions seen as accelerating climate change, but they share an interest in preparing for the changes ahead, the article 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. 

 
Posted on Monday, April 1, 2019 at 10:35 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

California winemakers' concern over new Chinese tariffs is all about the future

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.

California winemakers are concerned about new Chinese tariffs on wine imports, even though per capita consumption of wine in the country remains low. 'It's all about the future,' say UC ANR experts. (Photo: UCCE Mendocino County)
Posted on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 11:21 AM
Tags: Dan Sumner (29), Julian Alsten (1), Wine (27)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Farmers concerned about potential new tariffs

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.

Almonds could be among the crops hit by Chinese tariffs in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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.

Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 8:28 AM
Tags: China (4), Dan Sumner (29), David Doll (26), trade (11)
Focus Area Tags: Economic Development

USDA secretary Sonny Perdue could have unusual power in the Cabinet

USDA secretary Sonny Purdue visited California in February. (Photo: USDA)
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue followed his 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.

Mohan spoke to the director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, Dan Sumner, to understand Perdue's role in President Trump's administration. 

"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.

Read the article: Trump 'gets what you're saying': Agriculture secretary talks immigration, water and food stamps on California tour

 

Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 10:01 AM
Tags: Dan Sumner (29), Sonny Perdue (1)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Rain and snow bring hope to California farmers

California's years-long drought is easing up, with storms delivering rain and snow that has exceeded "normal" for the state, reported Jed Kim for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk. Kim interviewed Dan Sumner, the director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources statewide program that focuses on such topics such international markets, invasive pests and diseases, and rural development.

Sumner shared a message of hope during the two-minute Marketplace clip.

"So far at least, things are close enough to normal that farmers aren't going to make drastic changes in either their planting decisions or their irrigation decisions," Sumner said.

The abundant rainfall this year will ease pressure on the state's groundwater reservoirs, which have been tapped extensively during the drought to keep crops alive when surface water was unavailable. 

"What that does is give us a little cushion in terms of planning for long-term changes," Sumner said.

Kim said the state may need to plan for a future with more limited water resources, "a future that may come sooner rather than later."

 

Research land under a stormy sky at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center Jan. 5, 2017.

 

Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 9:43 AM
Tags: Dan Sumner (29), drought (162)

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