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      Cherry farms receive federal protection for disasters

      For the first time ever, Michigan tart cherry farmers will be able to get federal crop insurance.

      Senator Debbie Stabenow, announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will give cherry growers access to insurance like other crop growers around the country.

      This new program is a response to the devastating loses cherry farmers faced in 2012. A year where 97% of Michigan's cherry crop was destroyed and farmers were left to fend for themselves.

      "Had we had crop insurance and be able to utilize those funds we would have been able to keep jobs," Patrick McGuire, Royal Farms Owner said.

      This federal insurance coverage will now give farmers help in the event of major losses to their crops.

      "No farmer should be wiped out because of a few bad days of weather, and this new coverage will help Michigan's growers manage their losses without losing the farm," Sen. Stabenow said.

      This insurance was originally going to be available if a farm bill were to pass this year, but Stabenow noted that there wasn't time to wait and this large industry needed protection.

      "I think with Michigan being the largest tart cherry producer in the union, I think it is very significant that we get a policy almost as significant as a corn policy would be to Iowa," McGuire said.

      This time last year, sweet cherry farmers also got similar protection.