Michigan fruit growers have voted to create a research and development program.

About 72% of producers representing 81% of the state’s tree fruit growers voted to establish the Michigan Tree Fruit Research & Development Program, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, which conducted the vote.

The department received 266 ballots in the vote by mail.

The program will officially begin April 1 and exist for five years, after which time producers will vote whether to renew it.

To fund the program, growers will be assessed money to support research and extension services provided by Michigan State University.

A new commission would address a recent decline in resources for research and extension services. In the past decade, the budgets for Michigan’s fruit research stations have been cut by nearly 50%.

Proposed assessments to pay for the commission:

  • apples: up to 4 cents/cwt. — 0.04 cents/pound;
  • cherries: up to $2.50/ton — 0.125 cents/pound;
  • peaches: up to $2/ton — 0.1 cents/pound; and
  • plums: up to $4.5/ton — 0.225 cents/pound.