AG Watch

Wheat growers in the Valley struggle

Sunday, February 06, 2011

California's wheat growers are worried about the instability in Egypt and how it could affect their crop.

Every year, more than 500,000 tons of wheat is produced right here in the Central Valley. Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat.

Valley farmers contribute to that supply. But, depending on what happens in Egypt it could reduce U.S. exports by millions.

The political unrest in Egypt has caught the attention of people worldwide.

People like, Sam Carreiro, a Lemoore farmer who owns 900 acres of wheat.

"There's a lot doubt out there, as far as Egypt is concerned right now," Carreiro said.

The United States supplies Egypt with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of wheat annually.

Carreiro fears, once the dust settles, if a new anti-American government takes over, it could have a negative impact on business dealings between the U.S. and Egypt.

"You have political unrest, and naturally, you have economic unrest, and that boils over into commodities or any other kind of purchasing they may do."

Egypt aside, wheat crops are already struggling.

Russia, another major supplier, has stopped exporting bushels because of a food shortage in their country.

And here in the United States, wheat farmers in the Mid West are dealing with extreme winter storms which could wind up killing a large portion of their crops.

Ultimately, that could mean higher prices for the consumer on basic items like flour and bread.

Carreiro says Egypt's crisis will only make the situation worse.

The problem is---no one knows how or when it will end. "Cause they really haven't got a clue where they're headed out until they get their civil unrest figured out."

Carreiro says with all this uncertainty, the price of wheat has already been impacted.

Last year 2,000 pounds of wheat cost less than $200.

Right now a ton is selling for about $285.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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ag report, egypt, lemoore, kings county, ag watch, shannon handy
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