Michigan Tree Fruit Growers Approve Research Program

Michigan’s tree fruit producers have approved a referendum to establish the Michigan Tree Fruit Research & Development Program, and it was a landslide.

Of the 253 valid ballots received, 181 producers voted yes (72%) representing more than 544,000,000 pounds (81%) and 72 producers voted no (38%) representing more than 130,000,000 pounds (19%). For the program to be adopted, more than 50% of the producer votes cast and more than 50% of the total production amount represented on the cast ballots, had to approve the proposal.

The Michigan Tree Fruit Research and Development Program will be administered by a committee of nine members appointed by Governor Rick Snyder – and fully funded by assessments on apples, cherries, peaches, and plums. The program calls for a maximum assessment of $2.50 per ton for cherries sold; 4 cents per hundredweight for apples sold: $2.00 per ton for peaches sold; and $4.50 per ton for plums sold. The commission can use a sliding scale to set the assessment rate on any given year and vary the rate up and down as priorities are set by their spring meeting. The commission may set a lesser rate for categories of fruit with a lower grade or value.

The referendum was conducted from Feb. 17-28. Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams made it official Tuesday when she signed off on the results. The effective date of the program is April 1.

Clover Adams said that the program was proposed to improve the economic position and competitiveness of the Michigan tree fruit industry by supporting the fruit research stations, research and Extension programs. The goal for this program is to keep Michigan’s tree fruit industry on the cutting edge of new technology as well as implementation of new research that keep Michigan’s farmers economically viable in the world market into the future.

When told of the referendum results, Michigan State University Extension educators Phil Schwallier and Amy Irish-Brown were pumped. “I think this is a wonderful event; it’s very important for the state’s tree fruit industry to take hold of its future,” said Schwallier. “It’s important to tax ourselves to help ourselves.”

Neither Schwallier nor Irish-Brown was surprised at the huge margin of victory. Irish-Brown said she’s heard only positive comments from growers, and in fact, a few said the assessments should have been even higher. The assessments are indicative of how money for research will be raised in the future, she said, as the industry will have to use its own money to leverage state or federal funds.

“It’s a pay-to-play mentality,” said Irish-Brown. “If you want something, you need to show it by putting in your own money.”

Dollars generated from fresh and processed cherries, apples, plums and peaches will be pooled to provide resources to Michigan’s fruit research stations, Michigan State University Extension field agents and campus specialists involved with tree fruit research and education. The intention of the commission is to acquire matching funds from Michigan legislature to increase the overall pool of dollars to support these ongoing efforts. The Michigan Tree Fruit Commission is separate from other established assessments for apples, cherries, peaches and plums. These new dollars would not replace the commodity-assessed funds that are used to support current production and promotion research.

The Michigan tree fruit industry has created this commission in response to a decline in resources. In the past 10 years, Michigan’s fruit research stations have experienced a nearly 50% loss of operating budgets. The Michigan Tree Fruit Commission is an innovative way to support ongoing research and Extension efforts to address inadequate funding that threatens to further regress research station infrastructure.

Michigan is unlike any other fruit-growing state, hence growers have relied on information produced by personnel in key MSU fruit positions. A similar but larger assessment program has been established in Washington, and as a result, the Washington apple, cherry and pear programs will become increasingly more competitive in the coming years. The Michigan Tree Fruit Commission will help ensure that Michigan growers will also be globally competitive into the future.

To review a copy of the Director’s Order and the Michigan Tree Fruit Research and Development Program, please visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
The farmers market at the play market at Meadows Maze at Hopcott Farm
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
USDA Unveils New Urban Agriculture Toolkit
For urban farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs, the toolkit is an electronic document that helps users navigate more than 70 resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. Read More
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Apples & Pears
May 1, 2016
USApple Debuts New Website
Industry group says new site is responsive to different formats, designed to be more consumer and industry friendly. Read More
apple tree trellising washington state
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure Expose Bigger Flaws
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Brandt logo
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Utah-Based Baicor
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
workers bending
Fruits
April 28, 2016
Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To Your Staff
Labor management is much more than just delegation. Read More
field shot
Fruits
April 28, 2016
USDA Establishes New Partnership To Link Underserved Growers To Farm Service Agency Programs
Minority, women, new and beginning, military, veteran, and urban producers to receive training and information on agency services. Read More
Vineyard Labor Downsized GP
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
The Truth About Most Farmworkers [Opinion]
Just ask any grower who has placed a help wanted ad. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
May 3, 2016
How To Build A Better Beetle Trap
UF/IFAS study on luring, snaring the notorious redbay ambrosia beetle earns prestigious award. Read More
Citrus
May 2, 2016
As Hurricane Season Nears, South Florida…
All basins around the region experience rainfall deficits during April as totals fall far below average. Read More
Equipment
May 2, 2016
USDA Offers New Loans For Portable Farm …
Portable equipment can help producers, including small and local farmers, get products to market quickly. Read More
Farm Management
May 2, 2016
USDA Unveils New Urban Agriculture Toolk…
For urban farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs, the toolkit is an electronic document that helps users navigate more than 70 resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To…
Labor management is much more than just delegation. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
USDA Establishes New Partnership To Link…
Minority, women, new and beginning, military, veteran, and urban producers to receive training and information on agency services. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Fruits
April 27, 2016
It’s Time To Rethink Grade Standards For…
Food waste is largely dictated by limiting produce standards. Read More
Fruits
April 27, 2016
Common Sense On Immigration [Opinion: On…
We need a guest worker program if we’re going to feed America and ensure our national security. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Deception Is A Dish Best Never Served [O…
Recent mainstream media kerfuffle over local food legitimacy stirs up the need for more clearly defined terms, better awareness among consumers. Read More
Fruits
April 26, 2016
New Study Finds Traditional Migrant Work…
Ball State University research shows many of the agricultural migrant workers of the past just aren’t migrating any more. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2016
Farm Bureau Says Labor Visa Backlogs Thr…
Agency calls for swifter processing of paperwork so growers' requests for crews can be met. Read More
Fruits
April 25, 2016
Avocados Emerging As Attractive Alternat…
Researchers vetting viability of commercial production in the Indian River region. Read More
Fertilizer
April 25, 2016
FDA Extends Comment Period On Using Raw …
The assessment will be designed to evaluate the risk that the use of raw manure as fertilizer on produce crops may pose for consumer health.   Read More
Cucurbits
April 23, 2016
Award-Winning Interactive Music Video Pr…
Funded by the National Watermelon Promotion Board, the video was produced in support of the rock and roll nutrition show, Jump With Jill. Read More
Citrus
April 22, 2016
Happy Trails To A Great Researcher, Bett…
Dr. Brian Boman worked with growers to examine their nutrient and water use and how practices could be modified to not only lessen environmental impacts, but also increase growers’ profitability. Read More
Food Safety
April 21, 2016
It’s Your Duty To Challenge The &#…
The Environmental Working Group is at it again, making it critical for growers to keep customers informed about production practices and the safety of produce. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]