By JUSTINE McGUIRE
Capital News Service
LANSING – Last year’s tart cherry loss has inspired a flurry of activity to explore federal crop insurance to protect Michigan growers. Wayne Wood, president of the Michigan Farm Bureau, said, “The reason they didn’t have crop insurance before is that it’s such a small industry, and small companies couldn’t make the investment and do the research to justify the policy.”
According to the Risk Management Agency, the majority of specialty crops – like tart cherries – in the state aren’t eligible for insurance. They include asparagus, cucumbers, squash, Christmas trees, sweet corn, strawberries, honey, celery and maple syrup. “And quite frankly, when you haven’t had an event like this since 1945, are you really going to buy insurance?” Wood said. “The demand was low and the demand is high today, as you would expect.”
Many specialty crops do have insurance programs, like apples, blueberries, potatoes, grapes, onions, peaches and tomatoes.