The Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division of the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association (MACMA) is a voluntary membership association made up of more than 600 apple growers from across the state. The association's primary goal is to obtain true market value for apples grown by farmers who belong to the association.
The Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division is uniquely qualified to represent apple growers on issues affecting apple production and marketing.
If you are a Michigan apple grower and are not currently a member of our association, please contact Dawn Drake for details on membership benefits and how to become a member.
Formed in 1961, the Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division was the first commodity division organized by the Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association (MACMA). It was preceded by the Michigan Processing Apple Growers Marketing Cooperative, organized in 1959 to negotiate prices, grades and other terms of trade with buyers of apples for canning and freezing.
The new division attracted a substantial membership during the first several months. Thanks to an extensive membership campaign in 1962, membership increased to 440 apple growers, representing about 50 percent of the processing apples in the state or approximately 2 million bushels. Despite the growing membership, Michigan processors were unwilling to negotiate. In 1963, the marketing committee decided that if processors refused to negotiate and sign a season-long contract, the division would sell members' apples on a load-by-load, day-by-day basis. This approach launched the MACMA Apple Sales Desk.
Throughout the1960s, membership continued to increase and become recognized by some processors. Others continued to purchase apples directly from growers. MACMA members utilized every available marketing alternative to gain recognition for members, including picketing processing plants and diverting apples to processors that had agreed to prices.
With the enactment of the Michigan Agricultural Marketing and Bargaining Act (P.A. 344) in 1972, the division applied for and received accreditation starting with the 1975 crop. Under the new law, processors were required to negotiate in good faith with the division and to deduct marketing service fees from all growers. The division has operated under the provisions of P.A. 344 since that time. Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on P.A. 344 in 1984, the division has effectively negotiated on behalf of members only.
Today, the Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division is MACMA's largest membership division with more than 600 members who grow approximately 60 percent of the processing apples in Michigan. In addition to negotiating prices with processors, the division works on the behalf of its members to help resolve challenges facing Michigan's apple industry. Some of the most pressing challenges in recent years have centered on unfair competition from subsidized imported apple juice and research needs to combat destructive fruit tree diseases such as fire blight.