WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sweet cherry growers in Washington state are now eligible for up to $500,000 in federal Emergency Farm Loans following a formal disaster declaration from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for the 2023 cherry harvest season.

According to information released by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell’s office, sweet cherry growers in Central and Eastern Washington faced devastating challenges throughout the 2023 season. Unusual weather patterns, including unseasonably high temperatures in the State of Washington, combined with heavy rains and cold weather in California, led to a shorter season for Washington growers and an oversupply of sweet cherries. Many growers in Washington state were forced to leave crop unharvested and experienced significant economic losses.

Fresh sweet cherries are a top agricultural commodity with a typical value of over $1 billion. A U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretarial Disaster Designation will allow sweet cherry growers to access low interest emergency loans to help bridge operations into the 2024 season. Washington Governor Jay Inslee also requested a Secretarial Disaster Designation.



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