Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, announced Thursday that tart cherry growers will have federal crop insurance beginning 2014.
Last August Sen. Stabenow announced similar coverage for sweet cherry growers.
The tart cherry coverage protects growers against losses from low yields, low prices, low quality and any combination of these.
The new insurance will protect growers from disasters like the early freezes and frosts in 2012 which destroyed orchards, vineyards, and fields across Michigan. 97% of Michigan's cherry crop was lost last year.
Senator Stabenow says, "no farmer should be wiped out because of a few bad days of weather... Michigan cherry growers will now be able to purchase crop insurance to protect themselves from disasters... This is another reason why it's critical that Congress finally complete its work on a Farm Bill."
Senator Stabenow's Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act, aka Farm Bill, will strength crop insurance to protect farmers. The Farm Bill will provide disaster assistance to Michigan fruit growers this year who do not have access to crop insurance.
The President of Cherry Marketing Institute Phil Korson says, "there's no question Michigan cherry growers have seen their share of losses over the last couple years... Better crop insurance options are needed to help families and farming communities get through tough times and better protect our growers."
The following counties will be able to purchase tart cherry crop insurance in 2014: Berrien, Van Buren, Allegan, Kent, Newaygo, Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Manistee, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim, and Charlevoix.
The Farm Bill passed in the Senate with a vote of 66-27 in June. The House has not passed the bill yet.
More information on the crop insurance will be available early this fall.