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There are limits to the amount of tart cherries a farmer can sell

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There are limits to the amount of tart cherries a farmer can sell

WATCH:  Raffi Williams explains why the government controls how much of certain goods reach the market.

Farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor, right? I mean that's what we're taught in school.

The harder they work, the more produce on the farm, the more they can sell as long as there is demand.

Well as it turns out, that's not always the case.

Let's take the case of the tart cherry, which is one of the two crops who have active limits on how much of the crop farmers can bring to market-- this keeps the demand high and the prices stable.


Currently, the number of tart cherries that can be sold are controlled by what's called marketing orders. These are limits set by the producers and then enforced by the department of agriculture. As long as two-thirds of the tart cherry producers agree-- the government recommends that once every six years the farmers vote on whether or not to continue the limits.

Marketing orders were started during the great depression to stabilize prices as a way to make sure there was stability in the prices of crops.

If a tart cherry grower violates the marketing orders they are subjected to fines. Some critics call it a government run cartel.

To avoid the fines a tart cherry grower in Michigan, who opposes the marketing orders, let 14 percent of his tart cherries rot because of the limits, though he could have donated the cherries to charity, put them in reserves for next year, or tried to export them. The issue gets even stickier if you can believe it because the limits don't apply to imported cherries.

But still, the marketing orders are supported by many tart cherry farmers as a way to make sure they have a stable income, even if it means higher prices for consumers some years.

So I guess we should revise the old saying to farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor up to a certain point.

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