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Michigan cherry industry faces challenges

Michigan cherry industry faces challenges

By Andi Anderson

Michigan cherry farmers gathered to discuss pressing issues facing the cherry industry. A key concern is climate change, which brings unpredictable weather patterns and ideal conditions for pests and diseases.

"We're facing a lot of variability," said Nikki Rothwell of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. "This year we dodged frost events, but then warm, wet conditions followed, creating issues with fungal diseases and invasive spotted wing drosophila."

Foreign competition is another major challenge. Lisa Eckerle Hankins, a fifth-generation cherry farmer who founded the Michigan Cherry Growers Alliance, highlighted the need for unity among growers.

"Over 100 growers are now connected through the Alliance," Eckerle Hankins explained. "Farmers face risks from foreign competition, an aging generation, climate change, and rising land costs. We've been isolated for too long, and unity is key."

State Representative John Roth also addressed the issue of farmland being converted to green energy projects. He emphasized the need for education among lawmakers, as the current Agriculture Committee has only three farmers out of 15 members.

Despite the challenges, there's a spirit of collaboration among Michigan cherry growers. By working together, they hope to ensure the future of this important agricultural industry.

Photo Credit: pixabay-couleur

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Categories: Michigan, Crops

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