Michigan fruit growers are considering creation of a state-level commission.

Two public hearings on the proposed Michigan Tree Fruit Commission were held Nov. 25-26 in the Michigan cities of Comstock Park and Traverse City, according to a news release from the Michigan State University extension service.

If the commission is approved, growers would be assessed money to support research and extension services provided by Michigan State.

Organizers hope to get matching funds for the commission from the Michigan Legislature.

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%.

“The Commission board will ensure that funds are committed to the highest priorities each season,” Phil Korson, president of the Lansing, Mich.-based Cherry Marketing Institute, said in the release. “Funds will improve fruit research station infrastructure as well as their ability to conduct progressive and innovative research and education that is desperately needed at a time when technology is advancing at a remarkable pace.”

Proposed assessments to pay for the commission:

  • Apples: up to $0.04/cwt. – $0.0004/pound
  • Cherries: up to $2.50/ton – $0.00125/pound
  • Peaches: up to $2.00/ton – $0.001/pound
  • Plums: up to $4.5/ton – $0.00225/pound