USDA Buys Cranberries For Food Pantries And School Lunches: ‘It’s A Win-Win’

Nov 27, 2014 06:24 PM EST | By Staff Reporter

USDA Cranberries - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agreed to purchase up to $55 million in cranberry products to the Congressional Cranberry Caucus.

The USDA doubled with this buy the previous one, which was in January. The agreement ended up with the Agriculture Dept. getting 68 million pounds of surplus cranberries, Green Bay Press Gazette reported.

The U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said on a press release on Monday that Wisconsin is the main producer of cranberries and the decision of the USDA is to help growers at a tough time.

The result of this buy will be more stable cranberry growers. The USDA became proprietor of the oversupply of the fruit, so this means that the growers are getting from 10 to 19 cents a pound, Local 12 noted.

"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," said Tom Lochner, Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association Director.

Apparently, at the current price, growers can't get even on what they grow and the price for which is sold. So, with the USDA plans to buy 68 million pounds by next year, Lochner said that it will probably help raise the commodity price of the fruit and also raise its 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 stated and WXPR noted.

The situation would be a "win-win" in the sense that cranberry growers will be able to sell the oversupply of fruit that they have and on the other hand, cranberries will become available for all sorts of people as well.

The USDA decision to make this buy was thoroughly celebrated by growers.

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