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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-1)

Bergman Effort Secures Relief For Tart Cherry Growers

Washington, June 24, 2019 Congressman Jack Bergman delivered news today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will buy an additional $15 million of U.S. tart cherries. In March, Rep. Bergman helped secure $15 million for the first tart cherry buy through USDA. This new purchase will provide urgent support to area tart cherry growers and promote domestic consumption of the product. USDA will purchase $15 million of U.S. tart cherries, now totaling $30 million, which will be distributed to domestic food assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program. “This is great news for our First District Cherry growers. The tart cherry industry has gone above and beyond to fight adverse circumstances facing their market, including the unfair dumping of cheap imports from Turkey and other foreign countries. The Trump Administration’s support is imperative as we work to solve the complex issues burdening the wellbeing of our area growers and producers,” said Congressman Bergman. Background: Congressman Bergman worked with USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach to explore solutions for the U.S. tart cherry industry.  Turkey and other foreign countries have flooded U.S. markets by dumping cheap imports, which have severely strained domestic cherry prices.  On September 12, 2018, Congressman Bergman sent President Donald Trump a letter on behalf of First District cherry farmers, urging the Administration to “withdraw duty-free benefits under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) for tart cherry juice from the Republic of Turkey.”  On November 1, 2018, President Trump ended Turkey’s duty-free access to the U.S. market. On March 20, 2019, Congressman Bergman delivered news to cherry growers in Traverse City that USDA would be making its first purchase of tart cherries in 2019.  On May 30, 2019, Congressman Bergman led a letter with Congressmen Upton, Moolenaar, and Huizenga, requesting USDA buy surplus product from the tart cherry industry.