Georgia’s fall vegetable crop did not produce profits like growers had hoped for. Mexican imports had a lot to do with that, says Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
“It certainly was not as good for us as the spring was. While we had good early prices on squash and cucumbers, once the Mexican crops hit, (prices) just dropped. There’s nothing the grower can do about it,” Hall said. “They either have to decide to plow up and not harvest or they just take a bad beating. Squash were selling and cucumbers were too, they were selling below our cost of production, about half our cost of production.
“It’s not been a good fall. (And) later in the season broccoli fell out.”
Unfair trade practices have the been the source of Georgia producers’ discontent for some time. It led to virtual hearings by the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office with farmers in Florida and Georgia. Congressional support helped lead to potential action regarding the imports of cucumbers and squash.
The USTR has requested investigations from the U.S. International Trade Commission into the imports of both commodities and the effect on domestic seasonal markets.
“A farmer can control labor, and a farmer can control pesticides and he can control rain to some extent because of irrigation, but the one thing he can not do anything about is trade. When he puts his product on the market and those prices drop out, it’s a goner,” Hall said.