MI cherry production up from last year

LANSING, Mich. (WSYM) - Are you a fan of Michigan cherries? Well, a crop report was released on Wednesday with good news and bad news for Michigan's tart cherry production.

According to the latest USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) production forecast, Michigan tart cherry producers should be very proud.

The forecast is for 264 million pounds of cherries, that's up 60% from last year's forecast done at the same time.

They are also forecasting that Michigan's sweet cherry production is expected to be up by 27% from 2017.

Michigan Farm Bureau Horticulture Specialist, Kevin Robson said, “Michigan is home to 75 percent of the nation’s cherry farmers, and this year we’re looking at a good-sized crop,” said Robson. “Even though Michigan producers dodged a frost event this year, and have a good quality and sized crop out in the orchards at the moment, many growers are less than optimistic for the 2018 marketing season.

The bad news is that more cherries doesn't mean more money for the farmers. A lot more product means more product to get rid of which equals lower prices that producers will receive for their labor.

According to Robson, while the trade-related economic downturn for major row-crop commodities, such as corn, soybeans and wheat due to NAFTA and the Chinese tariff battle is a relatively new phenomenon, global trade challenges have hindered the cherry industry for a number of years. 
“Our cherry growers in Michigan are some of the hardest working, diligent and relentlessly optimistic farmers I know,” said Robson. “But there’s no doubt it’s an economic struggle in the cherry industry right now.”