TC’s Cherry Central: Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year

TRAVERSE CITY – The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) selected Cherry Central, Inc. of Traverse City as the "Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year." The reason? The TC company's proven ability to expand into new markets, its significant export sales growth over the last three years, and other achievements.

"Increasingly, Cherry Central and other Michigan businesses are shipping their quality agricultural products to new areas and at higher volumes. They are a prime example of how Michigan's agri-food industry is making its mark in the global economy," says Keith Creagh, MDARD director. "We applaud their success and recognize them for the key role they are playing to grow and diversify the state's economy."

Michigan is second in the nation for agricultural diversity and exports one-third of its agricultural commodities every year. Recent studies show exports generate $1.55 billion and employ more than 12,000 residents.

Richard Bogard, president and CEO of Cherry Central, says the company already exports to more than 25 markets, but adds that this award will help the company expand its export markets and financially strengthen its Michigan fruit growers – a certain way to expand Michigan employment.

Cherry Central, which began exporting in 1973, saw an increase of more than 20 percent in its export business in 2010. Its products include Michigan grown fruits and vegetables like apples, blueberries, cherries, asparagus and cranberries. It sells to customers in Antigua, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Czech Republic, Chili, Croatia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of China, Slovakia, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.