Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Secretary Ross in Mexico: Climate, Trade and Collaboration

Secretary Ross (front row, second from left) is joined in Mexico by Honore Comfort (Wine Institute); Kelly Damewood (CCOF); Rich Matteis (California Farm Bureau Federation); Tom O’Brien (Driscoll’s); Dave Puglia (Western Growers);Joy Sterling (State Board/Iron Horse Vineyards) and Stuart Woolf (Woolf Farming and Processing).

It’s an honor to join Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis on California’s Trade Mission to Mexico. As the state’s largest trading partner and fifth largest agricultural export destination, Mexico is a key international partner for California.

Over the last two days, our delegation has had great opportunities to connect with businesses, government and academia to further expand our shared cooperation on issues that impact both of our states.

Our first day brought us to California’s home in Mexico – Casa de California – which serves as the headquarters for the University of California’s UC-Mexico Initiative to create a partnership with institutions in Mexico to address common issues and educate our next generation of leaders. This venue provided a perfect forum for a California conference, hosted by the UC, ‘Mexico and California: Building Environmental Resilience Together.’

During this conference, an agricultural breakout session (co-facilitated by Dr. Dan Sumner, UC Ag Issues Center) allowed agricultural delegates and attendees to identify key areas of collaboration and how best we can integrate and grow together. Working with the UC Initiative, we will lay the foundation of what success for the region will look like. A powerful theme throughout the discussion was the importance of agricultural extension (on-farm technical assistance) to better expand and enhance the sustainable work that farmers in Mexico and California are achieving.

Today has been filled with great meetings with the National Conference of Governors (CONAGO), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico City and Mexico’s Business Roundtable (CCE). The foundation for all these meetings focused on building cooperation on trade, immigration and environmental work. We share so much in common and Mexico is truly a partner – not only in trade but in a diversity of areas that connect businesses, families, economies and our environment.

I’m looking forward to our meetings tomorrow with the Ministry of Agriculture (SADER), where we can expand our agricultural cooperation on climate smart agriculture, trade, plant/animal health and labor.

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