On March 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved Washington’s request for a natural disaster designation due to losses during last year’s cherry crop.

The designation cites the excessive heat that started in the spring, which — as growers well recall — resulted in the state cherry crop compressing into a narrow harvest window. Impacted growers will be eligible to apply for emergency loans from the USDA Farm Service Agency.

The primary counties listed as impacted are Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, Walla Walla and Yakima. Growers in neighboring counties in Washington and Oregon are eligible as well. 

by Kate Prengaman