The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the agricultural industry hard just like everyone else, but a couple of developments last week will certainly be helpful to those in agriculture.
The California State Budget last week again including $5 million in state funding to fight the spread of Asian citrus psyllid and the Huanglongbing disease that could devastate the state's citrus industry. And the United States Mexico Canda Agreement, known as the USMCA, officially replaced the NAFTA trade agreement on July 1. Those in the Ag Industry said the USMCA should provide a considerable boost to those in agriculture in the long-term.
The state budget provides $5 million for the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division administered by the Californian Department of Food and Agriculture. The Division is tasked with preventing the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing.
California Citrus Mutual, the non-profit trade association that advocates for citrus growers,, issued the following statement:
“CCM has worked extensively over the years to advocate for state funds to augment the industry’s investment. Given the dire economic recession created by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the resulting budget cuts, the citrus industry is incredibly fortunate to have maintained this critical funding.”
CCM went onto praise Governor Gavin Newsom, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, CPDPP leadership, and the State Legislature for providing the funding.
The CPDPP is funding by California citrus growers with support from the state and federal governments and its purpose to combat pests and diseases that threaten the state's citrus trees.
CCM stated additional federal funds should be provided as well in the fight against disease that threatens citrus.
Last year, the federal Citrus Health Response Program provided funding to fight disease that threaten citrus to Florida, Texas and California, with California receiving $14 million, CCM stated.
“We are optimistic that Congress will once again approve this funding in the upcoming budget being negotiated now,” CCM stated.
As far as the USMCA among its measures is eliminating Canada's Class 7 milk pricing system, which those in the Ag Industry have called unfair and a “scheme” to allow low-priced Canadian dairy products to be sold cheaper than U.S. Products in Canada and third-world nations. The Ag Industry also stated dairy producers in California will directly benefit from the USMCA's measures to provide expanded access to Canada's market.
The Valley's fruit growers should also benefit from the USMCA's measure that ensures preferences benefit U.S. producers. The USMCA also removes tariffs for nearly all U.S. agricultural products shipped into Mexico and the U.S.
It's also hoped the USMCA will help in future trade negotiations with the United Kingdom and the European Union.