USDA Cranberry Purchase Good News For Growers

Nov 26, 2014

Cranberry growers are pleased with the news that the USDA will start purchasing millions of pounds of surplus cranberries. 

Last year saw a record crop fro Wisconsin's cranberry growers.
Credit James Lake Cranberry Marsh

High yields have driven prices down to as low as 10 to 19 cents a pound for processed fruit.

Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association Director Tom Lochner says at that price growers can’t break even.

 “It’s been declining.  We’ve seen the downward pressure on grower returns for three or four years now.  So hopefully we’ve reached the bottom and we’ll start to see signs that things are improving.”

The USDA plans to buy up to 68 million pounds of fruit over the next year. 

Lochner says not only will it probably help raise the commodity price of the cranberry, it will also raise the fruit’s profile.

“These products will go into school lunch programs, food banks, things like that.  So people who may not normally enjoy cranberries will be able to do that.”

Lochner says record crops have led to an overabundance of available fruit.  He says heading into the most recent harvest, growers faced a year’s worth of inventory already available. 

Prices are down to between 10 and 19 cents a pound. 

Wisconsin is the nation’s top cranberry producer. 

Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Sean Duffy have voiced support for the measure.