A farmer from Leelanau County will take a seat on a national board that oversees federal crop insurance, even as the tart cherry industry is trying to get federal insurance for tart cherries.
Jim Bardenhagen, of Suttons Bay, is the first Michigan farmer appointed to the eight member board. He grows cherries, apples, grapes and potatoes and he’ll represent specialty crops on the board.
Last year as much as 90 percent of the tart cherry crop was lost to spring freezes and growers have been trying to get tart cherries approved for crop insurance.
“I think 2012 was a very teachable moment,” Bardenhagen says. “The situation with tart cherries is that there’s no safety net.”
That issue could come before the crop insurance board this year.
Newly appointed members attend their first meeting in Washington, D.C. this week.