Strong Dollar Could Boost Competition In Global Agriculture Market

Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 2:49pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 3:03pm
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Pecan harvest season typically lasts from November through January.

The dollar is its strongest against global currency in years.

It was valued at its highest in November since 2003.

This isn’t always good for those in the agriculture business who export their products out of the country. 

“It changes those opportunities for the buyers around the world to get a better deal,” said Michael Swanson, an agricultural economist with Wells Fargo.

When the U.S. dollar grows in strength, some international buyers get less bang for their buck. This could push buyers away or force lower U.S. prices.

Arizona’s growing tree-nut industry is a local example. Growers increasingly look to global markets like China for many of their sales.

Dick Walden is the president of Farmers Investment Company which grows pecans in southern Arizona. He said he keeps a close eye on the dollar.

“Yes, there is a serious impact on our business,” Walden said. “However, we have strong relationships with the foreign buyers that we deal with.”

Walden said pecans have an advantage because they’re native to North America.

“I believe that because pecans are somewhat of a niche product, that they will continue to buy pecans from us and other U.S. pecan growers.”

Swanson says farmers can explore using foreign courtesy exchanges to meet the buyer where they are.

Patience, though, is priceless.

“Sometimes you just have to know you’re going to be in farming for 15, 20 years, so you’re going to have to deal with the highs and lows as well when it comes to currency strength.”

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