contributed…WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) reacted to the news this week that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to purchase $5 million of cranberry concentrate for federal nutrition assistance programs, including food banks. Kind recently joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to purchase cranberries to help bring stability to commodity prices.

“After last year’s record cranberry harvest, it’s critical that the USDA utilizes the programs in place to ensure that global markets are not flooded with U.S. cranberries and that commodity prices are not driven down even further,” said Rep. Kind. “I’m very pleased that Wisconsin Cranberry producers will receive help from the USDA to ease some of the uncertainty brought by the high Canadian harvest and global uncertainty.  Not only will the rural economy benefit from the move by the USDA, but food assistance programs will be able to offer healthy cranberry products.” The letter, signed by Kind and a bipartisan group of Representatives from Wisconsin and other cranberry-producing states, detailed the current unfavorable market conditions for the cranberry industry. The group urged the USDA to make a large purchase of cranberries as a response to the pressure put on cranberry prices by 2012’s record harvest and the effect of Canadian exports. The letter stated that for almost half of all cranberry growers in the United States, farm-level prices will be below the cost of production.
“I commend the USDA for making the decision to purchase cranberries. This announcement is welcome news not just for cranberry growers, but for all the people who will now benefit from the nutritional value of cranberries,” concluded Kind.