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Sahuarita Pecan Festival canceled; organizers blame tariffs

How pecans go from the trees to your table
Posted at 1:24 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-17 01:28:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Farmers Investment Co. has canceled the 2019 Sahuarita Pecan Festival due to trade conditions resulting from the trade tariffs, the company said in a press release Friday afternoon.

According to the organization, global economic conditions have made the event unfeasible.

The festival typically draws 20,000 people each year.

The Green Valley Pecan Company-set festival would have been the 11th annual event.

“We are disappointed to cancel the Pecan Festival this year, but we believe we owe it to our employees to focus our resources on our core business,” said Dick Walden FICO President and CEO, in a statement. “You can be assured that FICO remains committed to Sahuarita and Green Valley and will continue to invest in our community and region as a wonderful place to live and work.”

FICO, which says it is one of the world's largest pecan sellers, emailed notices to sponsors and vendors to tell them about the cancellation. The organization will refund fees within 30 days.

"The mood in the White House - its very difficult to make business decisions because you might wake up any day to a different policy," said Walden.

Referring to the tariff wars this year -- Walden said tariffs with China were at seven-percent for pecans before the back and forth started. Now, he said, they're at 47-percent.

"It effects our community in a big way and it just really upset me that they canceled it because of Trump," said a woman who lives in Sahuarita.

The huge increase in tariffs and the short amount of time to adjust to the changes, is what ultimately led to the cancellation of this year's festival.

"Now we have to fins something else to do on that day. Aw. How are we going to break it to the - we have a lot of siblings so when we break it to them they're going to be like, 'what?' said a Sahuarita family who was surprised to hear the festival was canceled.

"This is no way means we are changing our commitment to our community, being principally Sahuarita and Green Valley. In terms of support for all the residents of this community and our efforts to be a good corporate member of this community," said Walden.

Walden said FICO is exploring the option of putting on smaller community events on a monthly or quarterly basis in the winter, but its too soon to tell if the company will do so.