Nels Veliquette is a second generation cherry farmer, the C.F.O. of Cherry Ke and Cherries R Us, and for the last decade, a vital partner of Cherry Republic. The Veliquette family owns and leases thousands of acres of cherry orchards in Northern Michigan. They are fully integrated farmers, meaning they pick, pit and store all of the cherries they grow.
Cherry growers throughout the United States have had the added burden of trying to compete with the unfair practice of cherry dumping from Turkey. Nels, along with many other local cherry farmers, traveled to Washington, D.C. this past December to make their final case for U.S. imposed tariffs on Turkish cherry products. On January 15, The International Trade Commission decided to reverse its earlier implementation of preliminary tariffs on dried tart cherries from Turkey. Nels was quoted in the Detroit News as saying this ruling “represents a body blow to an industry that was already struggling in the commodities cycle.” While this is indeed a hard knock, we are hopeful that the federal government will review this decision in view of the facts.
Nels is a partner and a dear friend of ours here at Cherry Republic. He, along with other talented local leaders, are looking at innovative ways to support a strong industry for years to come, which includes focusing on affordable migrant housing and testing new cherry varieties to improve yields and return. As we celebrate National Cherry Farmer Month throughout February and move forward in this new decade, we invite you to join us in supporting local cherry farmers, such as Nels, by voting for Michigan cherries! Help elect those senators, state representatives and local officials who are fighting for our farmers and protecting our markets from a glut of foreign fruit. You can also vote for cherries by looking at labels and choosing cherries grown in the USA — especially Michigan cherries.
“Even if the government won’t help protect our markets, rest assured we will defend the Cherry Republic until the very end.”
– Nels Veliquette