The USDA recently announced it 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.
A news release from Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) indicates the purchase will provide urgent support to tart cherry farmers and promote domestic consumption of the product.
Turkey and other foreign countries have flooded U.S. markets by dumping lower-cost imports, which have severely strained domestic tart cherry prices. In recent weeks, Bergman 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. “[It 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.”