Asparagus growers experiencing pricing buoy

An asparagus grower says prices have been decent this year as the end of harvest nears.

Fourth-generation farmer Jordon Walsworth tells Brownfield, “The demand and price has been fair this year and I think most of that has to do with some rumored troubles from imports from Peru and Mexico.”

“I think that actually has helped open up some of those sales outlets that may have bought and purchased imports before,” he shares.

He says the labor cost makes it difficult for U.S. farmers to compete with fresh imports even at the processing level.

“They can fill those freezer bags or cans of asparagus a lot cheaper bringing in overseas product, so our domestic product is not being used as highly in those avenues,” he says. “Thankfully, we still have a little bit of room here in Michigan, some customers do stay loyal to some domestic.”

USDA recently announced it will purchase $4 million of canned and frozen asparagus through a Section 32 purchase for food banks.

Walsworth says that bonus buy and reduced imports during their harvest season have been especially helpful for U.S. growers this spring.

A study last year by Michigan State University found growers average about an eight percent return on asparagus with their breakeven at $0.73 per pound based on 5,500 pounds per acre.

AUDIO: Jordon Walsworth

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