Mike VanAgtmael, a third-generation farmer from Hart, Michigan, has been named Cherry Industry Person of the Year. The award was announced during the Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show near Traverse City in January.
VanAgtmael farms about 500 acres, including 170 acres of tart cherries. He is a large grower of asparagus. His farm is organized as two entities, VanAgtmael and Sons and VanAgtmael Orchards, located in the heart of fruit country in Oceana County.
VanAgtmael served nine years on the board of the Michigan Cherry Committee, is treasurer of the Cherry Marketing Institute, and is a member of the board of the new Michigan Tree Fruit Commission.
He is very active in conservation work, and his farm is verified under the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program for his use of practices such as integrated pest management, model fuel and agrichemical storage facilities, and drift management.