Senator Stabenow Praises New Support for Michigan Cherry Growers

New USDA action, urged by Stabenow, will strengthen Michigan’s cherry industry and provide more nutritious fruit to schools and food banks

Thursday, May 24, 2018

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement of new support for Michigan’s tart cherry industry. Senator Stabenow has urged the USDA to take action to help Michigan cherry growers, who have recently faced uncertainty from unfair trade practices by other countries.


“In Michigan, we grow more tart cherries than any state in the country,” said Senator Stabenow. “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.”


Recently, countries like Turkey have dumped cherry products into domestic markets, creating a trade imbalance that has threatened the success of Michigan’s cherry industry. The USDA announced a bonus buy purchase to protect cherry growers from the rise in unfair foreign competition. The cherries purchased will go to food banks and school meals, providing families and students with nutritious fruit.


“This is a very big deal for the Tart Cherry Industry,” said Phil Korson, President of the Cherry Marketing Institute. “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. We appreciate the leadership from Senator Stabenow and our elected officials to help us get this over the finish line.”


Senator Stabenow has long been a champion for Michigan cherry growers and has led the effort to provide relief from trade imbalances. Earlier this year, Senator Stabenow urged Agriculture Secretary Perdue to take action to protect Michigan’s cherry industry from unfair competition and raised the issue again with him at a committee hearing last month.


While the purchase is an important first step to reducing the impact of the imbalance, trade officials need to address the issue long term. In conversations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, Senator Stabenow has pressed them to accept cherry growers’ petition to revoke Turkey’s unfair duty-free access to the U.S. market.