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Michigan fruit processor files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Cherry Growers, Inc., a Michigan fruit processor has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Neither processing operations nor employees will be affected by the action, said President and General Manager Eric MacLeod. The Thursday filing will allow the grower-owned cooperative to realign assets and financial obligations while upgrading equipment needed to keep pace with the changing marketplace.

"We just were too slow to respond to the changing landscape," MacLeod said. "There's been a concentration of buyers, a concentration of growers. And we just have been remiss in new capital investment into our operations."

He expects the corporation to emerge from Chapter 11 relatively quickly.

"As short as possible," he said of time required for reorganization. "Projections right now are six months."

The biggest change planned for Cherry Growers is "more modern machinery, particularly electronically enhanced machinery. Our buyers insist on that," MacLeod said.

The grower-owned cooperative operates a fruit-processing facility in Grawn. It has 53 member-growers who mostly farm in Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Antrim counties, MacLeod said. Cherry Growers has 75 employees. The organization was created in 1939.

Looking forward, said MacLeod, "No immediate or long-term changes are planned. We'll see how it goes."

Publication date: 9/5/2017


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