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Bush further continues to build his legacy - Avocados

Old 12-02-04, 12:43 PM
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Bush further continues to build his legacy - Avocados

U.S. allows more avocado imports from Mexico
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Tuesday expanded imports of Hass avo cados, granting the Mexican government a diplomatic victory but overriding early resistance from California farmers and lawmakers.

In a much-anticipated decision, the Agriculture Department declared the Hass avocados grown in Mexico can be distributed in all states starting Jan. 31 except California, Florida and Hawaii. The expanded distribution eventually will include all states.

"There is minimal risk associated with an expanded import program," said Melissa O'Dell, spokeswoman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The Mexican government has been seeking the change for years in a fight that's played out on Capitol Hill, at international trade talks and in a Fresno courthouse. It's left some bruises.

"Clearly, California growers still have some very serious concerns about pest infestations from increased imports," said Thom as Bellamore, senior vice president of the California Avocado Commission.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer likewise said, through her spokesman David Sandretti, that "the Department of Agriculture should have gone further to keep pest-ridden avocados out of the state."

At the same time, Bellamore said California growers are "certainly pleased" that the Agriculture Department agreed to postpone Mexican shipments to California by another two years. Boxer likewise praised the longer phase-out for California, while saying it should have been extended to neighboring states.

"We think that the two-year exclusion will ensure domestic growers are protected," Bella more said.

Consumers can expect lower prices. After all, the average U.S. wholesale price of $1.08 per pound is more than twice the average Mexican wholesale price of 46 cents per pound.

On the other hand, some California producers could lose out. One Agriculture Department estimate predicts prices paid to California growers could fall by as much as 20 percent.

"California producers will be economically harmed," Agriculture Department officials conceded in their formal notice, but "we have no reason to expect the demise of the California avocado industry."

California now claims about 4,800 avocado farms, primarily in San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Riverside counties.

While the number of California farms has been shrinking, imports from Mexico have been growing dramatically. Even with the existing import limits, Mexican avocado shipments to the United States more than doubled between 2001 and 2003, to 77 million pounds.

California producers grew 335 million pounds last year.

This prospect of stiffer competition helped spur some of the 17,000 public comments received by the Agriculture Department following its initial proposal to expand the avocado imports. In partial response, the department agreed to several changes, including delaying the expanded distribution to all 50 states for two years.

The delay is consistent with the avocado controversy's long lifespan. A U.S. ban on Mexican avocado imports held for 83 years, until the Agriculture Department partially lifted it in 1997. Officials said at the time they could control the spread of fruit flies.

The state's avocado growers, nonetheless, filed a 2001 lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Fresno. The lawsuit contended the Agriculture Department hadn't yet obtained congressional approval or completed a required environmental study. A decision is pending.

"We've made our case," Bellamore said, "and we think now it's up to the court to decide."
I'm torn. I hate U.S. industry taking a hit... but I do love guacamole. So long as it doean't have any fruit flies, that is.
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Old 12-02-04, 12:48 PM
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Anything that hurts California can't be all bad!
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Old 12-02-04, 12:49 PM
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"During the campaign, I earned political capital, and now I'm going to spend that political capital to bring the American people delicious dips."
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Old 12-02-04, 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by classicman2
Anything that hurts California can't be all bad!
Then don't bitch about the price of your tomatoes.
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Old 12-02-04, 12:55 PM
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Bush has more to worry about than alvocados. He's got a revolt led by the senior leadership of the House to contend with.

They didn't wait long, did they? I didn't think this was supposed to happen until his last 2 years.

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Old 12-02-04, 12:59 PM
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Originally posted by X
Then don't bitch about the price of your tomatoes.
We don't get California tomatoes.

They're consumed in California.
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Old 12-02-04, 01:08 PM
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I am mixed on this also.

Right now these babies are like $2 each. So I can see the supply side of this.

Love the Guac also - I have a mean recipe
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Old 12-02-04, 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by bfrank
I am mixed on this also.

Right now these babies are like $2 each. So I can see the supply side of this.

Love the Guac also - I have a mean recipe
Alvocados are 50 cents here.

Of course OK produces a lot of alvocados.
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Old 12-02-04, 01:31 PM
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Originally posted by classicman2
We don't get California tomatoes.

They're consumed in California.
California exports about 20% of the tomatoes it produces.
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Old 12-02-04, 02:09 PM
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Originally posted by X
California exports about 20% of the tomatoes it produces.
I believe the forum will require a link on that.
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Old 12-02-04, 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by classicman2
I believe the forum will require a link on that.
http://www.tomato.org/news/p061501.html

And here's why your tomatoes are so expensive right now:

http://www.tomato.org/news/p102804.html
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Old 12-02-04, 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by classicman2
I believe the forum will require a link on that.
Yes! And a quoted article... and BOLDING!
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Old 12-02-04, 02:58 PM
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Wow, tomatoes sure have turned into a hot potato all of a sudden.
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Old 12-02-04, 03:01 PM
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When the grocer is paying $80 per crate - that's pretty warm.
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Old 12-02-04, 03:04 PM
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I buy heirlooms when they're available. You don't want to know how much those cost.
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Old 12-02-04, 03:23 PM
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Cripes, I came in here looking for some political mud slinging and I see it's progressed to a food fight. This isn't S Korea you know.

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Old 12-02-04, 07:32 PM
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c-man, these are Hass avacados. I dont think you guys grow those do you?
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Old 12-03-04, 08:51 AM
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Old 12-03-04, 08:59 AM
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Originally posted by bfrank
c-man, these are Hass avacados. I dont think you guys grow those do you?
I was kidding! OK doesn't grow avocados.

We get avocados from CA, TX & Mexico.
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