The Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division of the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association (MACMA) is a voluntary membership association, which is made up of more than 600 apple grower members.
Originally, the primary goal of the association was to obtain true market value for apples produced by our members. Since it’s inception, the association has evolved into a multifaced organization that acts on our members’ behalf in representation of legal, labor, and legislative issues. The association also aids grower members, along with Michigan Farm Bureau, by acting as a collective voice in solving issues affecting members with federal and state agencies including USDA, EPA, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), and others.
The Michigan Processing Apple Growers are uniquely qualified to represent growers on issues affecting apple production and marketing.
Michigan Processing Apple Growers Marketing Committee
The association’s marketing committee consists of 32 growers who are elected by the membership and represents members on all issues involving the program. Committee members are elected each December for two-year staggered terms. Marketing committee meetings are held five to six time per year and supplemented during the harvest season by telephone conference calls as needed. The marketing committee provides a $1,500 scholarship at the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo to a well deserving student who intends to pursue a career in agriculture. The marketing committee has made it a long-term goal to return cash patronage to its members on an annual basis. Since 2012, the association has returned more than $790,000 to its members.
In an effort to obtain true market value for our members’ fruit, the association operates a sales desk to assist members in locating the best markets for their processing apples. In addition to working with all Michigan processors, the sales desk also works with processors in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Since 2017, the sales desk has shipped more than 14 million pounds of apples to out of state processors. An added responsibility to members is assisting in the collection of overdue money for deliveries of processing apples. Over $1 million has been collected on behalf of apple division members.
Legislative and Regulatory Issues
The COVID-19 Pandemic created many unique challenges for our industry and your association went to work immediately with elected officials and government agencies to provide certainty and relief. Staff met regularly with USDA officials, MFB and AFBF staff experts, SBA, the White House, and others throughout the process. Results of those meetings included the Paycheck Protection Program, Personal Protective Equipment, USDA programs such as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Programs 1 and 2, and Farmers to Family Food Box. We also were, and continue to be, active in seeking regulatory flexibilities in trucking , H-2A visa processing, and ongoing work with the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR).
We continue to work closely with the USDA for ongoing processing apple sales and bonus buys as needed, including apple juice, applesauce, IQF apple slices, apple-cherry juice, apple-cranberry juice, and fresh cut apple slices for food banks and home feeding programs.
MACMA participates in research funding for various MSU Projects including Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, bitter pit, and updated cost of production analysis.
The association participates annually in the EPA Decision Maker’s tour. This important tour brings high ranking EPA officials to Michigan farms and allows them the opportunity to see the challenges growers face with decisions made in Washington, DC.
We have worked closely with federal legislators and the USDA’s Risk Management Agency to improve apple crop insurance.
We continue to work closely with the Cherry Marketing Institute, Michigan Apple Committee, and the Michigan State Horticultural Society to maintain and continue the grower-approved Michigan Tree Fruit Commission.
The Michigan Asparagus Growers Division of MACMA, represents 139 grower members who are governed by an annually elected 13-member committee. The organization acts on behalf of its members in negotiating a minimum processing price for the current year’s crop. The committee meets with processors regularly to discuss industry news, challenges, and events that all contribute to the bottom line for our members and processors alike. The MACMA Asparagus Division maintains a strong working relationship with all processors, MSU Extension, and the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. The division has worked closely with USDA over the past two years in obtaining a bonus buy to help remove excess asparagus from the market.