China imports about 60% of Oregon’s hazelnut crop. How hard will tariffs hit farmers and exporters?


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    U.S. walnut, mandarin, grape, cherry and peach exports to China are expected to be hit hardest by new tariffs, according to Rabobank. Increasing Chinese demand for the products is expected to partially offset the impacts of the tariffs, but reduced exports will follow. Rabobank predicted milder but significant negative effects for other U.S. fruit and tree nut exports.

    The pain is being felt by a variety of agricultural producers, from Oregon hazelnut growers to Iowa dairy farmers to Maine lobstermen.

    Hazelnut growers in Oregon are forecast to have a record-high crop in 2018, according to USDA, which is often considered a good thing. The agency’s production forecast expects a harvest of 52,000 tons, surpassing last year’s total of 32,000 tons and the previous record of 49,500 tons set in 2001. Acreage is set at 72,353 acres of orchards across the state, up from 66,980 acres in 2017.

    However, China is a major export for the signature Oregonian crop. In fact, the nation imports about 60% of Oregon’s hazelnut crop. The industry had plans to expand its market in China, but a 65% tariff instituted by China is challenging their momentum. “This crop is going to double in the next four to five years. When you look at a market like China, that market is not going to double,” said Patrick Gabrish, head of sales and marketing for Hazelnut Growers of Oregon. “Candidly,” he said, “if the tariffs remain in place, it will impact their ability to buy Oregon hazelnuts (in China),” reported The Oregonian (Sept. 1).

    Iowa’s farmland average value decline over the past six months due to tariffs depressing commodity prices, uncertainty around world trade agreements and higher interest rates, according to the Realtors Land Institute, Iowa Chapter. The statewide average farmland values fell 1.7% to $6,844 an acre from March through September, reported Des Moines Register (Sept. 11).

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