Apr 3, 2019
USDA plans to buy $15 million of US tart cherries

Michigan Congressman Jack Bergman recently delivered news to Michigan cherry growers that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to buy $15 million of U.S. tart cherries. This purchase will provide urgent support to tart cherry farmers and promote domestic consumption of the product.

According to a release from Bergman’s office, Turkey and other foreign countries have flooded U.S. markets by dumping cheap imports, which have severely strained domestic cherry prices. In recent weeks, Bergman said he worked with USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach to explore solutions for the U.S. tart cherry industry.

“I’m encouraged by the USDA’s decision to provide short-term relief to the domestic tart cherry market, and I appreciate Under Secretary Ibach’s engagement and action on this issue. This is a big win for our farmers and producers in northern Michigan,” Bergman said.  “Today’s news is a welcome investment in American cherry farmers, and we will use this momentum in our efforts to address the larger unresolved trade issues that continue to place our nation’s tart cherry industry at a disadvantage.”

The USDA will use its authority under the “Section 32” program to purchase $15 million of U.S. tart cherries, which will be distributed to domestic food assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program.

On Sept. 12, 2018 Bergman sent President Donald Trump a letter on behalf of First District cherry farmers, urging the Administration to “withdraw duty-free benefits under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) for tart cherry juice from the Republic of Turkey.”

On Nov. 1, 2018 President Trump ended Turkey’s duty-free access to the U.S. market.

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