Mar 18, 2015
Michigan asparagus price is unchanged

Michigan asparagus growers will receive the same price they saw in 2014.

Handlers will pay 79 cents per pound (cash) for the growers’ asparagus this year – 80.5 cents per pound with payment terms, according to Ken Nye, executive director of the Michigan Agricultural Commodities Marketing Association’s Asparagus Division.

Nye announced the processing prices (for cuts and tips) during the Oceana Asparagus Day held March 12 in New Era, Michigan. He anticipated all four of the Michigan handlers would agree to the price.

Each year the MACMA Asparagus Division’s Marketing and Bargaining Committee recommends minimum prices for processing asparagus to asparagus processors. The committee’s recommended prices are established after all relevant production and marketing factors are considered. Handlers and other industry sources are consulted in this processing price discovery process.

If necessary, grower prices can be set through binding arbitration as provided for under the Agricultural Marketing and Bargaining Act; however this is generally not necessary.

Michigan growers harvested 19.8 million pounds in 2014, virtually matching the previous five-year average, Nye said.

“The 2015 price recommendation, 79 cents, is what the committee had developed and sent out to the processors, and 80.5 cents with the normal terms that we have,” Nye said. “The reason for that is stocks are in pretty good shape; we’re processing asparagus.”

Growers received a nickel-a-pound price hike in 2013, going to 78 cents (79.5 cents per pound with payment terms).

The price in 2012 was 73 cents per pound; 70 cents in 2011; 62 cents in 2010; 66 cents in 2009; 67 cents in 2008.

Nye said production of fresh asparagus continues to increase, but he cautioned growers to maintain a balanced concentration for the processed market.

“We have to do this fresh processed thing together,” noted Nye, who said the goal is to not leave a void in product going to processors.

Gary Pullano

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