LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan has more apples than it can eat. To that end, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters said the U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy $100 million in apples from Michigan farmers and will then use the fruit to help feed hungry Americans.
“Michigan farmers are the best in the world! We are one of the most agriculturally diverse states and one of the nation’s largest producers of apples,” Stabenow said in a news release. “Because record-breaking crops and a significant surplus of apples are threatening to destabilize the market for farmers on orchards across Michigan, I urged the USDA to buy the apples they need from Michigan farmers.”
Michigan is the country’s third-largest producer of apples, with more than 14.9 million apple trees over 34,500 acres across 775 family farms. According to the Michigan Agricultural Cooperate Marketing Association, Michigan apple growers have produced a record crop for the second year in a row. “Our apple industry was challenged with carryover of raw product from the 2022 apple crop in addition to retail sales of fresh and finished product being down,” said MACMA General Manager Dawn Drake.
The average annual apple crop for Michigan is about 24 million bushels, but 2022’s record-breaking crop exceeded 32 million bushels, and the surplus threatened the supply chain for the 2023 harvest.