Is Florida’s Growing Season on the Rocks?

 

Produce Season in Florida

Produce season is certainly a profitable time for a lot of states, Florida in particular. With 9.4 million acres spread across 47,300 farms as of 2015, when it comes to produce, Florida is one of the biggest growers of fruit and vegetables in the United States. In addition to sheer volume of oranges and fresh tomatoes that Florida grows annually, there are a number of other crops being produced including grapefruit and sugar cane, both of which account for more than half of the total U.S. value.

When it comes to produce, Florida is one of the biggest growers of fruit and vegetables in the United States.

While most of the crops grown in Florida are exported to the U.S. East coast, some of the biggest competition for the Sunshine state doesn’t come from the U.S but Mexico. What Florida exports to the East Coast, Mexico predominantly covers for the West Coast and then some. However, with President Trumps hard line stance against Mexico, how will this affect trade between the two?

What Florida exports to the East Coast, Mexico predominantly covers for the West Coast and then some.

Florida Agriculture Wants its Voice to be Heard

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the specialty crop industry has been working with them to come up with ideas to dilute the “Mexican Dumping” of produce.

Florida agricultural representatives were visiting lawmakers offices throughout the month of February

So How will Trump Help?

Part of the rallying cry for Trump’s campaign was to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States. Part of the plan to do so was to impose a 20% trade tariff on goods and produce coming in from Mexico. While it sounds like an intimidating move, it’s more or less just posturing at this point as Trump doesn’t have the authority to make such a change to an already existing trade agreement, only Congress can do that.

Part of the rallying cry for Trump’s campaign was to bring back manufacturing jobs to the United States.

However, assuming that Trump somehow managed to wiggle around that, it’s highly unlikely that the additional cost wouldn’t simply be passed onto the U.S. consumer instead. So, while it might seem like Mexico would be paying for the border wall, it would really come down to the U.S. consumer in the end.

Florida Vs. NAFTA

While the President can’t directly affect a preexisting trade agreement, it’s certainly no secret that NAFTA hasn’t done Florida growers any favors. Given the lower cost of production and access to a longer growing season, Mexico can “dump” produce into the U.S, over stocking the market and driving down Florida’s profitability.

It’s certainly no secret that NAFTA hasn’t done Florida growers any favors

“In the years immediately after NAFTA’s passage, U.S. trade officials failed to fulfill promises and commitments that were made to secure Florida’s support for the trade pact. Safeguards and remedies that were supposed to protect Florida’s specialty crop industry clearly did not work,” according to an article from Growing Produce. “That’s why the grower community is hopeful over President Trump’s announced intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). They see it as an opportunity to right the wrong dealt to the industry when the treaty was negotiated in the early 1990s. The ordeal of Florida farmers since the pact was signed illustrates how poorly crafted trade agreements can hurt an industry.”

U.S. trade officials failed to fulfill promises and commitments that were made to secure Florida’s support for the trade pact.

 

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