A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) action will see Michigan cherries purchased for food banks and schools, giving them nutritious additions while strengthening the state’s cherry industry.
“In Michigan, we grow more tart cherries than any state in the country,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who previously urged the USDA to take action on behalf of the Michigan cherry industry, said. “While there’s still more work to do to level the playing field for our producers, this new support is an important step to help our cherry growers weather an unfair trade imbalance.”
The trade imbalance Stabenow referred to was begun when nations such as Turkey offloaded their cherry products into domestic markets. Stabenow claims this threatens the future of the Michigan cherry industry and has asked for a revocation of Turkey’s duty-free access to the U.S. market. Through a bonus buy program, though, the USDA hopes to stem that tide.
“This is a very big deal for the Tart Cherry Industry,” Phil Korson, president of the Cherry Marketing Institute, said. “As we have struggled to deal with cheap imports, our domestic inventories have increased, which have depressed our growers’ prices. This purchase will help remove some of that surplus inventory and put more money back in growers’ pockets.”
Stabenow, however, notes that this is only a first step. While she lauds the efforts for short-term aid, she said officials still need to address the issue with long-term solutions.
Article taken from The Peninsula