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Mich. fruit crop expected to surpass last year’s

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:02 AM

“We’ve had a real nice spring here,” said Tony Blatner, 42, an apple farmer with a 125-acre orchard in Kent County. “We’re pretty excited about it.”

Keith Creagh, director of the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the food and agriculture industry is a bright spot in Michigan’s economy.

“You’ve got to have product to sell,” Creagh said. “This year, we’re pretty optimistic.”

Last year, frost destroyed young buds and hurt fruit yields statewide. This year, the cold and rainy spring put farmers behind schedule.

For some other crops such as wheat, conditions this year were almost ideal. The quality of Michigan wheat, which currently is being harvested, is excellent, said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, which represents more than 400 agricultural businesses.

Farmers were late in planting corn and soybeans, however, because of the wet weather. In some cases, crops are a month behind schedule, Byrum said.

— Information from The Detroit News

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