Tyler Mickelson The trade storm has arrived and the tariffs are beginning to hurt U.S. fruit exporters. During the last two weeks of June, Washington apple exports to Mexico were off about 40% compared with the same two weeks a year ago. China's 50% tariff on apples could last a year or longer, and Mexico's 20% tariff could stay in place until there is a resolution to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations. With Mexico's recent elections, that may not happen until mid-2019. Mexico and India will continue to be supported because they are strategic markets because 60% of Washington red delicious exports typically go to those two countries. And for cherries, even with a 35% tariff, shipments to China was about 440,000 cartons as of June 29, up from about 345,000 cartons at the same time last year. However, that tariff was to increase to 50% last week. Last year, Northwest cherry exporters sold about 3.1 million cartons to China. Even though a market like South Korea could take more cherries this year, it won't compensate for the lost opportunities in China. Exporters are cautious that the tariff increase may also be accompanied by delays in product clearing customs in China, which occurred to oranges and California cherries when the first round of tariffs were imposed. For cherries, Northwest exporters will take a "wait and see" approach about how cherries clear customs before they jump back into selling to China.
Changes are happening in New York. Last week, New York's Governor announced a $30 million initiative that would support conservation easement projects on dairy farms. Funding through the state's Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program will go towards dairy farms to ensure that land remains in agriculture. The announcement comes at a time when dairy farms in New York and across the country are dealing with low milk prices and dairy processors closing, forcing some farms to go out of business. The state is issuing a Request for Applications for farmland protection grants of up to $2 million from eligible entities, such as land trusts, municipalities, county agricultural and farmland protection boards, and State Soil and Water Conservation Districts. And, there is no application deadline.
And tomorrow is the start of Farm Technology Days in Wood County. The host farms are D & B Sternweis Farms and Weber's Farm Store/Heiman Holsteins located just West of Marshfield. The show will run Tuesday thru Thursday starting at 9 am and going until 4 pm. The opening ceremonies will take place tomorrow morning at 9 am with the Echoes of Camp Randall. It's a show for every one of all ages with games and activities for the kids and a lot of demonstrations for the adults. Plus don't forget the food. Parking is free, admission is cash only and $8 per person but, children ages 12 and under are free. FFA and 4-H members that are accompanied by their instructor/leader can also enter for free.