Michigan legislators look to help fruit farmers who have lost crops

This spring was an especially difficult one for Michigan tree fruit farmers, many of whom lost their entire crop following harsh freezes.

The harvest for tart cherries alone, of which Michigan is the nation’s largest producer, could be down as much as 75 percent from last year and result in the 2012 crop being the smallest tart cherry harvest since 2002, according to Food Business News.

More than 70 percent the U.S.’ tart cherries come from Michigan, with the majority of those being grown in five counties in the northwest area of the state’s Lower Peninsula, near Traverse City (home of the world renowned National Cherry Festival), according to Food Business News.

The problem came after unseasonably warm weather caused fruit trees to bloom early. Later, a series of hard freezes hit the state, causing damage to the crop.

Peach and apple trees also were affected.

However, help may be on the way. To help the estimated 1,000 farmers who suffered massive crop damage, some state legislators want to implement an aid program that possibly could offer low interest loans to affected farmers, according to a report on mlive.com.

Legislation also soon could be introduced to help farmers in conjunction with a federal disaster loan program through the federal government.

To read the full story from mlive.com, click here.

To read the full story from Food Business News, click here.

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