Stabenow, Peters Announce USDA Purchase of Michigan Apples

Monday, November 13, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Gary Peters (MI) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy $60 million in fresh apples and $40 million in processed apples from Michigan farmers. These apples will then be distributed to food banks, school meal programs, and other programs across the country.

Michigan is the nation’s third-largest producer of apples, with more than 14.9 million apple trees covering 34,500 acres across 775 family farms. Senators Stabenow and Peters urged the USDA to buy from Michigan farmers to help farmers with their surpluses from last year and this year’s harvest.

“Michigan farmers are the best in the world! We are one of the most agriculturally diverse states and one of the nation’s largest producers of apples. Because record-breaking crops and a significant surplus of apples is threatening to destabilize the market for farmers on orchards across Michigan, I urged the USDA to buy the apples they need from Michigan farmers. This will help our Michigan farmers and provide healthy, Michigan-grown apples to food programs across the country. That’s a win-win,” said Senator Stabenow.

“After advocating for this commonsense solution, I’m happy to announce that USDA is making a $100 million purchase of Michigan apples to take advantage of the surplus that our growers have experienced in recent years,” said Senator Peters. “Not only will this move protect businesses and workers throughout the state, it will help provide nutrition to folks in need around the country.”

“Michigan apple growers produced a record crop for the second year in a row, which has been estimated to be larger than 2022,” said Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association General Manager Dawn Drake. “Our apple industry was challenged with carryover of raw product from the 2022 apple crop in addition to retail sales of fresh and finished product being down. USDA has been a great partner to Michigan’s apple industry, and we are grateful the Secretary approved our request for processed apple products and US Apple’s efforts in securing the fresh purchase. We also are very appreciative of Chairwoman Stabenow’s and Senator Peters’ efforts in helping to get the purchase over the finish line.”

This announcement follows a letter from Stabenow and Peters urging USDA to support apple growers through a Section 32 purchase. The average Michigan apple crop is about 24 million bushels, but a record-breaking 2022 crop exceeding 32 million bushels and a significant surplus threatened the fragile supply chain for the 2023 harvest.