Bergman Announces USDA Relief for Michigan Tart Cherry Growers

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Washington, May 4, 2020 | comments
Today, Rep. Jack Bergman welcomed a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plan to purchase $20 million of U.S. tart cherries. In early April 2020, Rep. Bergman requested various avenues of Coronavirus relief for the tart cherry industry – including a “substantial purchase of surplus product” – and he has continued to work closely with USDA, the Cherry Marketing Institute, and local growers and processors to deliver meaningful relief.

Using “Section 32” authority, USDA will buy surplus tart cherry products to assist growers and producers as the industry continues to be impacted by the Coronavirus and other challenges in the domestic and foreign market. Commodities purchased through the Section 32 program are used to feed Americans in need.

As we work towards additional relief for Northern Michigan’s tart cherry growers and processors, this $20 million investment will help stabilize the industry. I will continue coordinating with the Trump Administration to ensure our tart cherry industry can bounce back from this crisis,” said Rep. Bergman.

“This purchase announcement was made at a very critical time for the tart cherry industry. We have substitutional inventory that now can be provided to families in need during this COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, Representative Jack Bergman, for your ongoing support. We are fortunate to have leaders like Congressman Bergman that step up to help America’s hard-working farmers” said Julie Gordon, President of the Cherry Marketing Institute.       

You can read USDA’s full announcement on $470 million in Section 32 food purchases HERE

Background:

In September 2018, Rep. Bergman requested that President Trump end Turkey’s duty-free benefit into the U.S. market under Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for tart cherry juice.

In March 2019, Rep. Bergman announced to cherry growers USDA approved a $15 million surplus purchase request to promote domestic consumption. 

In June 2019, Rep. Bergman announced that the USDA would buy an additional $15 million of U.S. tart cherries.

In September 2019, Reps. Bergman and Moolenaar sent a letter to Secretary Perdue urging tart and processed sweet cherries to be included in the president’s trade aid package.

In December 2019, Rep. Bergman wrote testimony to the International Trade Commission supporting the Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee’s case against Turkey dumping.

In January 2020, Rep. Bergman led a phone call with USTR Ambassador Gregg Doud regarding Michigan cherries in the China Phase One trade deal.

In January 2020, Rep. Bergman led a phone call with USDA Under Secreatary McKinney regarding efforts to increase promotion of U.S. tart cherries overseas.

In February 2020, Reps. Bergman, Moolenaar, and Huizenga wrote a letter to USTR requesting a field hearing in Michigan regarding the state of tart cherries and other specialty crops.

In February 2020, Rep. Bergman and other Michigan congressional delegation Members wrote a letter to CBP in support of the tart cherry industry’s allegation against improper Turkish trade practices.  

In April 2020, Rep. Bergman led Members of the Michigan congressional delegation in requesting Coronavirus relief for tart cherry growers and processors. 
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