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Lemon Supplier Navigates Tariffs In Global Agriculture

Arizona grows about 10 percent of the lemons for the nation’s largest supplier. Harvests also come from California and South America. And the global trade in lemons is getting increasingly political.

Limoneira is the nation’s biggest supplier of lemons with 12,000 acres in California and Arizona.

CEO Harold Edwards said tariffs are a concern.

“When President Trump was inaugurated, one of his first actions was to eradicate the Trans Pacific Partnership,” Edwards said.

The U.S. withdrew from the TPP in January and now those tariffs remain in place.

“The Trans Pacific Partnership was potentially going to have a very positive impact on our business, in that it called for a significant reduction in citrus tariffs that today impose upwards of a 40 percent tariff," Edwards said.

Limoneira does business in Mexico and now in Chile, who remain part of the TPP. The company sells globally, including across Asia.

Edwards said global agriculture is dependent on trade agreements and, while tariffs will remain in place and not have an immediate impact on business decisions, it impacts companies of its size. 

Limoneira harvests in California in March, in Chile starting in June and in Yuma starting in August so that harvest continues year round.

Until 2010, Limoneirra was part of a more recognizable brand, Sunkist. Last week the company acquired new acreage in Chile.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.