Feb 4, 2013
Letters of support for Michigan Apple Referendum

Fruit Growers News has received several letters regarding the upcoming Michigan Apple Referendum. A few were printed in the February issue (page 39), but not all of them could fit. Here’s all of them:

As a Michigan apple shipper, I urge Michigan apple growers and shippers to vote yes on the 2013 Michigan Apple Referendum, March 4-15. Overall support of the measure means the Michigan Apple Committee (MAC), along with the U.S. Apple Association, will continue to work on behalf of the growers at the same rate implemented in 2003. It is important to note that this proposal is not a request for more money. It maintains the current assessment rate that has been in place for a decade.
I feel it is imperative to continue to support the program that has supported us as growers for so many years, in good times and bad, to help us be competitive in the marketplace and move forward in a positive direction. I had the opportunity to participate in the strategic planning process with the committee last summer, and was energized by the process. Many innovative ideas came from the session, and I am confident the plan will set the stage for a prosperous future for Michigan apple growers.
Additionally, I have been fortunate to represent Michigan in the U.S. Apple Export Council, collaborating with the eastern states and California. MAC is a member of this important group that provides us with opportunities to explore new global marketing opportunities.
In 2013, we prepare for a potentially large crop and new challenges. I urge you to vote yes on the 2013 referendum to keep the Michigan Apple Committee working for us for the future.
Mark Girardin, North Bay Produce

The team at Peterson Farms encourages all Michigan apple growers to support the upcoming Michigan Apple Referendum.
The education, promotion and research activities coordinated by the Michigan Apple Committee provide the necessary framework that strengthens the entire industry, from the tree in the orchard to the consumer’s kitchen table.
We have seen many exciting advancements, including the introduction of new apple varieties and apple products to advances in mechanized harvesting and production techniques. At the same time, ultra-modern storage, packing and processing capacities have been added. Perhaps of greatest significance is the generational transition taking place and the incredibly talented younger people who are now actively involved in the Michigan apple industry.
We feel that the passage of the referendum will be critical for the industry to capitalize on this momentum.
Earl Peterson, Peterson Farms

As a Michigan cider maker and farm marketer, I strongly encourage Michigan apple growers to vote yes on the Michigan Apple Referendum March 4-15. The Michigan Apple Committee provides valuable services to the industry as a whole, including cider mills and farm markets.
MAC has been active with cider makers, ensuring positive public perception of our cider products and continuing efforts to improve the safety of those products. With MAC’s help, Michigan continues to have a reputation for high-quality apple cider.
In addition, MAC supports farm markets not only as apple retailers but tourism destinations. The signs, recipe cards and other materials designed and provided by MAC make a strong impact on our customers and help to convey the idea of supporting local farmers. In addition, our customers carry on the tradition of visiting farm markets as a “Pure Michigan” family activity.
MAC continues to provide vital services to all sectors of the Michigan apple industry, and helps us as growers, farm markers and cider makers to be successful. Join me in supporting the continuation of the Michigan Apple Advertising and Promotion Program.
Mike Beck, Uncle John’s Cider Mill and Winery

As president of the Michigan State Horticultural Society (MSHS), I strongly encourage Michigan apple growers to vote “yes” on the Michigan Apple Referendum this March.
The Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) has worked in cooperation with MSHS and other organizations over the years to conduct research on Michigan apples. In addition, MAC, MACMA and MSHS have worked together to address such issues as the phase-out of Guthion, inclusion of specialty crops in the farm bill and ag labor. For many years, MSHS has sponsored MAC’s Michigan Apple Queen program as a way to increase public awareness about the industry.
These issues, and many more, are becoming more critical to successful apple production and marketing in Michigan. MSHS supports the continued efforts of MAC in their work on behalf of Michigan apple growers. Let’s make sure growers’ voices are heard. Join me in voting “yes” on the Michigan Apple Referendum.
Ed Robinette, Michigan State Horticultural Society

As apple growers in Michigan prepare to vote in the upcoming referendum, I urge you to join me in supporting this renewal. The Michigan Apple Committee has helped the Michigan apple industry grow and prosper for nearly 75 years. The committee supports growers in the areas of market development, education and research, accomplishing goals and achieving results that would be impossible to achieve as individual growers. The cost to growers hasn’t changed in 10 years, yet the support for growers and presence in the marketplace continues to grow.
In a difficult year with few apples to sell, the MAC staff worked hard to keep us on the minds of consumers and retail partners. They are ready to move ahead with marketing plans and programs for the expected large crop of 2013.
Valuable marketing programs, research projects and consumer education to help us be successful as an industry are key reasons why Michigan apple growers should support the continuation of the Michigan Apple Advertising and Promotion Program.
Don Rasch, Rasch Family Orchards

Apple growers will soon receive a referendum ballot asking whether or not they support the continuation of the Michigan Apple Advertising and Promotion Program. It is my opinion that the services of the Michigan Apple Committee must continue to keep the industry strong and competitive for years to come.
On a national level, the partnership between MAC and the U.S. Apple Association has been a powerful one. These two organizations have successfully worked together to address many major issues that face our industry. Monitoring of apple and grower issues in Michigan gives MAC the expertise to answer the press, participate in legislative hearings, be part of stakeholder committees and assist in, or do crisis communication for, the apple industry. In particular, I know both organizations are working hard on the issue of ag labor – an issue that affects us all. Apple growers are in dire need of a viable guest-worker program that will provide enough workers to harvest our crops. MAC and USApple can help lead the way on critical issues that could have far-reaching impacts on our industry. These organizations, working together, provide apple growers with a cohesive voice on the state and federal levels, and they are getting things done on our behalf.
I have been involved with the activities of the Michigan Apple Committee and know how well prepared they are when they ask for help on issues. This work must continue to be done. Please join me in supporting the continuation of the Michigan Apple Advertising and Promotion Program.
Fred Leitz, Leitz Farms

The upcoming Michigan apple referenda vote means a great deal to the future of the Michigan apple industry. The Michigan Apple Committee keeps Michigan apples in the public eye, working with retailers to market our product and educating consumers. I have always found the retail programs developed by the Michigan Apple Committee to be helpful, as myself and my organization work to sell Michigan apples. The programs creatively and consistently distinguish our product from its competitors, creating a positive environment for the sale of apples.
Recently, the partnership with the Pure Michigan campaign has distinguished Michigan apples in the eyes of consumers and retailers. That type of connection with a successful campaign is invaluable to our industry.
In the coming year, with the expected large crop in 2013, the efforts of MAC are going to be critical in moving product locally and across the country. MAC’s strong relationships with retailers, the media and other partners make it easier for Michigan apple shippers to do our jobs.
The marketing support provided by MAC allows all shippers to be competitive in the marketplace and appropriately represent and serve our Michigan apple growers. For that reason, I urge you to vote yes on the 2013 Michigan Apple Referendum.
Mike Rothwell, BelleHarvest Sales

The work of the Michigan Apple Committee is vital to the Michigan apple industry. As chair of the MACMA/Michigan Processing Apple Growers Committee, I am encouraging all Michigan apple growers to support renewal of the Michigan Apple Advertising and Promotion Program.
The importance of the great partnership between MACMA and the Michigan Apple Committee cannot be understated. During this difficult crop year, the Michigan Apple Committee and MACMA were at the table with the governor’s office, working on the low-interest loan program for growers affected by the crop loss. In addition, our organizations continue to collaborate on issues such as crop insurance, the phase-out of Guthion and ag labor.
As an apple grower, I appreciate the work of MAC in the areas of market development, education and research. This is valuable work that benefits our entire industry. I hope you will vote yes on the Michigan Apple Referendum.
Mark Umlor, MACMA/Michigan Processing Apple Growers

The Michigan Apple Committee is an essential tool to all of us growers here in Michigan. The promotional investment we as growers make is returned threefold. One of my favorite developments in recent years has been the Pure Michigan partnership. Working with the Pure Michigan campaign has allowed the committee to reach more consumers and really get their attention. This groundbreaking partnership has been, and will continue to be, very important as a marketing tool for our industry.
In addition, MAC is focused on research. In fact, of the total assessment, 4 cents is earmarked for research and goes directly to that account to be spent on worthy projects. For years, MAC has funded very valuable research projects focusing on everything from pest management to plant pathology and improved apple waxing. Today, researchers are looking at important topics such as delaying bloom and combating new pests. MAC has developed a solid and successful relationship with researchers at Michigan State University that has yielded critical findings for growers. In addition, the group has sought out centers of excellence at other universities (Penn State, Cornell, the University of Guelph), providing a diversity of research topics and a wealth of information while avoiding duplication of research.
It’s so important to our industry to ensure a continuation of this work. I urge my fellow growers to join me in voting yes on the Michigan Apple Referendum in March.
Al Dietrich, Ridgeview Orchards

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