Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Secretary Ross and California Ag Leaders talk trade with Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative

Amabassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, at Blue Diamond Sacramento Facility

Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), addresses the gathering at the Sacramento headquarters of Blue Diamond Growers. Seated from left are CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, Blue Diamond President & CEO Mark Jansen, and USTR's Chief Agricultural Negotiator Dr. Isi Siddiqui.

Today, I had the great opportunity to meet with Ambassador Ron Kirk and California agricultural leaders to discuss trade and greater market access for agricultural products worldwide. California is the largest agricultural producer and exporter in the nation – with more than $12 billion in exports. Our farmers and ranchers, on average, export approximately 23 percent of products grown and harvested in this state.

What makes California’s farmers and ranchers so successful in the international trade arena – is the dedication to innovation, the importance of food safety, as well as producing some of the highest quality agricultural products in the world.

California is blessed with such a great climate – that it allows us to grow more than 400 different agricultural products – from rice, cotton and wheat to high value specialty crops and wine. Just as we have a diversity of growers in this state, large – small, organic – conventional, – we also have a diversity of exporters. We have large agricultural cooperatives, representing a number of small and medium growers to export management companies representing a wide variety of private label products.

California farmers and ranchers have an intrinsic ability to sell our products to the world – be it the cache of California or the diversity and quality of products from our fields.

Trade is vital to California. It provides jobs, supports our rural communities and assists in meeting the every growing global food demand.

Access to foreign markets is essential to California’s farmers and ranchers. By opening doors to foreign markets, lowering tariffs and eliminating non-tariff barriers to trade we are providing opportunities for family farmers, rural communities and the multitude of businesses connected to the agricultural sector.

It was a pleasure to meet with Ambassador Kirk and his team – this meeting reinforced the importance of California on the international stage.

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