Agreement Reached with Japan Benefits Cherry Growers - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Agreement Reached with Japan Benefits Cherry Growers

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YAKIMA, Wash-- A new agreement has been reached with the Japanese government. Growers are now able to immediately export their cherries to Japan. 

There's been a change in protocal when it comes to shipping cherries to Japan. Now the cherries can be shipped sooner, meaning fresher cherries and better sales over seas.

Under the old restrictions Washington cherries had to be fumigated for bugs before they could be sent to Japan. This treatment could delay the shipment by two-weeks and it cost growers lots of money. Now the cherries only need to be inspected before being shipped out. This means the cherries will be shipped fresher and farmers will pay less in the process.

Dan Newhouse is Washington's director of the Department of Agriculture and he's also a cherry farmer. He said people at the federal, state and local level made this new agreement possible. He's excited for the benefits to farmers.

"We're blessed with a record, near record, crop this year in cherries. So we need every market we can get, we have so many cherries," said Newhouse.

In a statement released by the governor's office, this year's cherry crop is expected to reach 200,000 tons. Around ten percent of last year's cherry sales were with Japan.

While this agreement comes a little late for this cherry season, growers are looking forward to the full benefits for next years crop.