Saturday, 29 November 2014

U.S Department of agriculture to spend $55 Million on Cranberry products

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is prepared to purchase up to $55 million in cranberry products, double the amount it purchased earlier this year. This increase in purchase is expected to add up to 68 million pounds of excess cranberries into the diets of low-income children and families.
 According to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), co-chair of the caucus, on Monday said that Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state and the USDA’s cranberry purchase will help growers of cranberry, particularly when markets are hard.
A record crop of cranberries in 2013, about two-third of which were grown in Wisconsin, has been decreasing prices to unsustainable levels for some growers. A proposal to slash cranberry production levels in August to decrease the surplus has been rejected by the USDA.
Executive Director of the Cranberry Marketing Committee Scott Soares said the agency’s decision to buy cranberries is possibly not associated to the rejected proposal. It was noted by Scott Soares that since 2008, the USDA has purchased cranberries each year.
But Tom Lochner, Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers’ Association, USDA’s rejection of production said cuts did encourage following discussions about rising USDA buying levels. “We look at it as a win-win. Obviously, we hope (the purchase) translates into prices that become economically sustainable. Added benefit, he said, is that more Americans will have access to a healthy, nutritious product they can incorporate into their diet”, said Lochner.
In mid-November, Baldwin connected with caucus members from both parties wrote a letter to USDA SecretaryTom Vilsack requesting the agency to boost its cranberry purchases to aid growers dealing with record crop levels and reducing prices.
The letter stated that buying cranberry products will directly help these families and regional economies in weathering impact of factors on cranberry commodity prices. It was signed by 22 members of Congress, involving fellow Wisconsin Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Sherwood), Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) and Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac).
Farmers on the other hand have expressed delight and appreciation anticipating the move will also better their incomes.

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