Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) recognizes the significance of the National Cherry Festival and the agricultural importance of cherries in the Michigan economy. The National Cherry Festival has been taking place in Traverse City past week.
"The National Cherry Festival is a great week that highlights the best that Northern Michigan has to offer, with people coming from across the country to Grand Traverse to explore and enjoy the "Pure Michigan' experience. With Michigan growing about 75% of the tart cherry crops in the United States, we are a leader in this growing industry. Over half a million people will visit the Grand Traverse area for the, making it great for tourism and the economy in the area," said Dr. Benishek, the only member of the Michigan delegation serving on the House Agriculture Committee.
The first Cherry Festival was held in 1926 and in 1931 the Michigan state legislature passed a resolution making it a national celebration. The Michigan tart cherry farm gate value for the 2013 crop was 74.2 million dollars, with the U. S. cherry industry producing more than 650 million pounds of tart and sweet cherries each year. The Sweet Cherry Industry in Michigan has a Farm Gate value of 19 million dollars.
"Northern Michigan's specialty crops, such as cherries, play a critical role in our economy up here. These farms support a lot of jobs in our region, and my goal is to continue supporting and representing our farmers while in Washington on the Agriculture Committee and in Congress," added Dr. Benishek. "
According to the Michigan Farm Bureau, the agriculture sector contributes over $71 billion to the state's economy and is the state's second largest industry. Michigan is home to over 56,000 farms covering over 10 million acres. Dr. Benishek recently accepted an award from the Michigan Agri-Business Association for his work on the enactment of the Farm Bill and his support of the Michigan agriculture economy in Congress.