Trade commission: Cherry imports from Turkey unfair

WASHINGTON — The U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday made a unanimous preliminary determination that the U.S. cherry industry had been harmed by unfair imports from Turkey, according to a release from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

The determination marks a step toward placing anti-dumping and countervailing duties on dried tart cherry imports from Turkey, intended to help level the playing field for Michigan-grown cherries.

Turkey recently has dumped cherry products into domestic markets and unfairly subsidized their own producers, the release stated, creating a trade imbalance that has made it harder for Michigan growers to sell their cherries at a fair price. As a result, the cherry industry asked trade officials to step in and address this imbalance.

SW Michigan peach harvest devastated

EAU CLAIRE — The polar vortex that enveloped much of the Midwest early this year nearly wiped out the peach crop in southwestern Michigan, according to experts.

Some of the region's apricot, plum and apple crops may also be affected after the blast of polar air plummeted temperatures to minus 20 degrees in late January, breaking water pipes and ice-jamming bridges in areas around the state.

Bill Shane, a tree fruit specialist at Michigan State University, told the South Bend Tribune that Michigan's southwestern counties will suffer millions of dollars in losses from damage to fruit crops.

The polar vortex also may have shortened the life span of trees that were severely damaged, he said.

Bill Teichman recently inspected his peach trees at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm, a 500-acre orchard in Eau Claire. He found deep, vertical cracks in some of their trunks, while others were bleeding sap.

Teichman said he doubts that his peach trees will be able to produce fruit this year and that he can already tell that several need to be replaced. He also found that some of his apple varieties aren't bearing fruit, either.