Washington State plans to request federal disaster designation for cherry, asparagus and other crops damaged by cold and wet weather this year, but a cherry industry official expects a normal crop.
Hard-hit asparagus growers, however, could benefit from disaster relief.
Washington’s governor, Chris Gregoire, is expected to make the request soon, Dawn Scott, a program specialist with the Washington Farm Service Agency, said June 11.
The agency submitted a report to the governor’s office on damage to cherry, asparagus and other produce and non-produce crops, Scott said.
The report mentions damage to cherry crops in Yakima and Chelan counties, but B.J. Thurlby, president of the Wenatchee, Wash.-based Northwest Cherry Growers, said a cold, wet May did not significantly damage or delay Washington cherries.
“We have a full crop,” Thurlby said June 11.
He added that volumes should peak about June 26, just two days later than normal.
Some Washington asparagus growers, however, were happy to hear the news that there could be disaster relief, said Sharon Heer, general manager for Yakima, Wash.-based Rasmussen Marketing Inc.
“It’s been a tough year,” Heer said. “We’re down 25% to 30% from last year, and last year wasn’t a great year.”
Washington’s asparagus deal was expected to wrap up the end of the week of June 14 or the week of June 21, Heer said.