Local Cherry Orchards Forced to Close After Not Turning a Profit

Fouch Orchards on Old Mission Peninsula sold one of their three cherry farms and has another on the market.

They say they can’t afford to keep it going.

They’ve had to dump cherries onto the ground because for so many Michigan cherry farmers, it’s just not turning a profit anymore.

“You’ve done this all your life and you’ve given your heart and soul to what you do and then it’s just going to go away,” said Raymond Fouch, owner of Fouch Orchards.

With cherries being imported from countries like Turkey where they are subsidized, the price per pound locally is so low, farmers can’t afford to compete.

“When you’re talking over four times more than it would to import, it’s tough to compete at that kind of level,” said Nick Fouch, who has worked on the farm alongside his father, Raymond. “It’s getting to the point where, not only us, but a lot of other farmers are having to make some really hard decisions on some family farms.”

Raymond has been a farmer his whole life and had plans for this farm.

“Make enough money on the farm so the kids could step in and they can take the farm over and keep it in for a fifth generation and right now that’s not happening,” said Raymond.

But he’s not the only one in the cherry capital struggling.

“This peninsula used to have more cherry trees per acre than anywhere in the world, now we’re not,” explained Raymond.

“We’re not on a level playing field. Being subsidized is just not fair for us,” said Raymond.

“It’s unfair. It has to stop,” said Democratic Senator Gary Peters.

Senator Peters says it’s something he is working on.

“I’ve also introduced legislation that would make it so that the department of commerce can actually get engaged in these kinds of trade actions,” said Peters.

Hopefully before the cherry industry is crushed.

“If something doesn’t change and this becomes profitable, cherries are gone,” said Raymond.