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Study Shows Impact, Growth of State's Cranberry Industry
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 10/30/2012

A new report issued by the Fiscal and Economics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater sheds more light on the importance of the state's cranberry industry to the overall economy. Economics Professor Russ Kashian says the Badger State currently uses about 18,000 acres for cranberry production, which is more than double what New Jersey, Oregon and Washington cranberry operations have combined. Wisconsin also has the most efficient yield per acre rate at 219.4 barrels.

"While many factors contribute to Wisconsin having success with yields, the management, pest and disease control, landscape and weather patterns are the factors that help Wisconsin have dominance," Kashian said. "As a result of these factors, Wisconsin contributed more than 57 percent of the total cranberry production in the United States."

As a whole, Kashian says the cranberry industry is healthy and growing across the country. Last year, U.S. production was 7.74 million barrels--about 14 percent more than the previous year. Wisconsin lead the nation in 2011 with total output of 4.41 million barrels; and had a farm-value of $166.4 million for that crop. Wood County is the state's top cranberry producer and is also home to three processing plants.

The study also noted that the future outlook for the industry remains prosperous. Ocean Spray, the leading producer of cranberry products in the nation, saw an 18-percent increase in international sales in 2006 alone. And as demand grows, so does the need for supply. Kashian says Wisconsin commits about 1,000 acres per year to expanding its production capacity.

Meanwhile, the report showed that the state's cranberry sector has a combined impact of $388 million on the state's economy. It helps create jobs, increase personal income and fuels other industries, such as trucking firms and equipment sales for farming.

Information for the report was compiled by government agencies and growers associations.

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