LANSING, MI – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Jamie Clover Adams, on Tuesday, February 24th, 2015, encouraged the state’s fruit growers to complete the 2014 Fruit Acreage Inventory being conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
“The fruit industry is a vital component to Michigan’s food and agriculture economy,” commented Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD Director. “Michigan ranks among the top three states in the country in our production of many fruits, with a combined annual farm gate value exceeding $500 million in 2013. Knowing the trends in planted acres and varieties helps us to address the future needs of the Michigan fruit sector.”
The survey includes important questions about the supply of labor available to growers, which will help agricultural organization leaders respond to the growing shortage of labor in the sector.
Survey forms were mailed to USDA’s database of Michigan fruit growers in early February with completed forms to be returned as soon as possible. Assistance in completing the survey is available from USDA staff by calling (800) 453-7501 and follow up by USDA staff will start in March.
The results of the 2014 Fruit Survey will be available in late fall 2015 and will provide a summary of the fruit acreage in Michigan and the varieties that have been planted.
Funding to conduct the survey is provided through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program administered by MDARD. The goal of the program is to increase the competitiveness of specialty crop industries both nationally and globally, which includes fruit, vegetables, herbs, bedding plants, maple syrup and other crops.
The 2011 data is available on the USDA website at http://www.nass.usda.gov/