NW Cherries to China

NW Cherries to China

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. While it's been a rough ride for Northwest cherry growers the past couple of years, they will get federal reimbursement money to make up for some of what Chinese tariffs have cost them.

But, Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby says they haven't lost out on China altogether ...

THURLBY ... "Thought that might be of interest to people who are listening and just thinking, I wonder how bad this China thing has gotten because it has really affected us, but I think we've dodged a bullet this year with a little bit shorter crop and really good timing, so we'll see."

So, Thurlby says some of our fruit still makes it into the China market ...

THURLBY ... "You know, we've quietly been shipping fruit into China. In our export business, this makes up about 30% of what we end up distributing around the world and despite all the challenges with China, it's actually been quietly okay. I mean, we've shipped several hundred thousand boxes in there which is, truthfully you know, more than I really thought we were going to ship this year given all the challenges."

And, given the overall population in China, Thurlby says, thankfully, there are people with money to spend ...

THURLBY ... "You know, there's still a level of consumer that can afford an $8 or $9 dollar-per-pound product in China where, you know, most of us here in the United States wouldn't buy into something that expensive. But, they're kind of a luxury and viewed as something incredibly special in China. So, we're still quietly shipping some fruit in there."

The USDA has earmarked $16-billion in tariff relief and Northwest sweet cherry growers will get 17 cents per pound in federal relief for the Chinese tariffs on their 2019 crop.

Thurlby says the relief made the difference between making money and breaking even versus losing money last year.

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