Fruit growers whose orchards were devastated by unusual weather this spring will get very little relief.
Growers say this year’s weather is the most damaging in living memory.
This week, more than 150 of them met with Congressmen Dave Camp and Dan Benishek to explain the extent of the damage.
So far fruit growers will only get a little bit of money to clean up debris from a late winter snowstorm, even though most of the damage was done by early spring freezes. Efforts are underway to make low interest loans available for crops lost that way.
“Obviously most producers would prefer to have some sort of grant program. But we don’t have any of those available anymore,” says Christine White, who directs the federal Farm Service Agency for Michigan. Her office is compiling crop losses county by county.
Disaster relief programs that would have helped fruit growers with direct cash payments expired last fall and there’s no word on whether Congress will bring back those grants.