September 26, 2023

CHELAN, Wash. — There’s courage in facing the unknown and for those in agriculture, almost everything is a risk. 

“The last five years have been very tough,” said Dave Robison who owns Robison Orchards in Chelan.

Robison is a third-generation farmer. His grandfather bought the orchard in the 50s. They grow Honeycrisp apples and other fruit.

“It’s kind of a special fit, apples in Washington,” Robison said.

In 2017 India enacted a retaliatory tariff on the United States which Robison said was a big deal for his small farm. It made it especially hard because he had just visited India with the Washington Apple Commission.

“We really thought that was great because it was 8 million boxes a year that were being moved to India,” said Robison.

Before the tariffs were put into place, roughly 1,400 growers made $122 million on exports to India. By 2022, those sales totaled $760,000. 

“In reality, it’s zero now,” Robison said.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, went to India this year to ask for the tariffs to be lifted, and last week, that’s exactly what India did.

“What we build and grow in our state is exported internationally so we want to see more open markets, not barriers to them,” Cantwell said.

“This is great because here is some good news for once,” said Robison. 

While it will take work to get back into the market, he has a lot to celebrate this season.

“I’m happy with this year’s crop on the trees, it’s a nice crop,” he said. 

While the uncertainties are still there, Robison says, “It’s nice to have good news.”

Senator Cantwell said India is also opening a Consulate Office in Seattle which opens Washington up to more partnerships.


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