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USDA to buy $15 million worth of tart cherries

Peter Payette

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy $15 million of tart cherries from domestic farmers, according to Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet.)

The cherries will be used in federal food assistance programs like the National School Lunch Program.

"This is a big win for our farmers and producers in northern Michigan,” said Congressman Bergman in a press release. "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."

Michigan farmers provide 75 percent of the country's tart cherries, according to the Cherry Marketing Institute. Recently, domestic tart cherry farmers have faced steep foreign competition from Turkey, which imports over 200 million pounds of tart cherry products to the U.S. each year.

Turkish tart cherry products sell for half the price of domestic ones in some cases. Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate last month that could lead to tariffs on those Turkish imports to balance the price.

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.