California Almond Farmers Brace for China Tariffs

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STANISLAUS COUNTY — Almond farmers have faced freezing temperatures, drought and other uncertainty over the years.

Yet, despite the setbacks, according to the Department of Agriculture, the late July harvest is expected to be record-breaking. But challenges lie ahead.

“Every farmer’s going to feel it. To the extent, a little bit yet to be determined,” said almond farmer Jake Wenger.

The ongoing trade war with China and the president’s threat to raise tariffs with the country could mean potential hardships on farmers.

“I don’t know that the impacts will be great enough to push people out of the market or to tear out orchards and plant something else,” Wenger said.

The Almond Board of California reports China is the second largest export market for the fruit.

Come what may, father and son growers Paul and Jake Wenger, whose farms economically support at least eight families, say they’re prepared.

“If we have a good year then the next year I have a little bit of a cushion for that year,” Paul Wenger said.

The board adds almond farmers and processors support 104,000 jobs in the state, 97,000 of which are in the Central Valley alone.

The Wenger family says there is a lot about the tariffs that they cannot control so they’re doing what they can to brace themselves.

“Very minimal amount of tillage in the field,” Paul Wenger told FOX40. “We really reduced our diesel consumption. We’re going to try to figure out ways to do it more.”

The family says they won’t know the full impact of the tariffs until next fall. Almonds will be harvested in late July into August.

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