A garlic farmer’s take on the trade deal

Andie Corban Jan 17, 2020
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Ken Christopher of Christopher Ranch in a crate of garlic skins. Josh Edelson/Getty Images

A garlic farmer’s take on the trade deal

Andie Corban Jan 17, 2020
Ken Christopher of Christopher Ranch in a crate of garlic skins. Josh Edelson/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Many farmers were anxiously awaiting the details of the phase one trade deal with China, signed earlier this week. Although many whose farms had been negatively affected by the trade war hoped for lower tariffs, things are a bit different when it comes to garlic.

Ken Christopher is the executive vice president of Christopher Ranch, the largest garlic producer in the country. Unlike for many corn and soybean farmers, Christopher says the trade war has been “pretty great, actually.” That’s because Chinese exporters have been flooding American markets with below-market garlic for years.

“So this 25% tariff on inbound Chinese garlic has been a fantastic thing for American garlic farmers,” Christopher said.

When news of the trade deal first broke, Christopher was nervous that the deal could hurt American garlic farmers.

“We have 1,000 full time employees, so we’re the largest employer in our hometown of Gilroy, California,” Christopher said. “Whatever is going on with the trade war is going to directly affect the hometown.”

Christopher said he wishes people realized that though the trade war has been bad for some farmers, it has helped boost others.

“We’re apolitical as a company,” he said. “What we are is pro-American garlic farmers.”

Click the audio player above to hear his story.

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