USDA to Make Large Cranberry Product Purchase
USAgNet - 05/06/2013
At the urging of some Wisconsin and Massachusetts lawmakers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will buy a bulk order of cranberry juice concentrate for its domestic food nutrition assistance programs. On Thursday, the agency announced that the purchase will be made through the USDA 'Section 32' program that purchases surplus foods from U.S. farmers.
Tom Lochner of the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association says the news comes at a time when the industry is trying to overcome a glut of fruit in the marketplace.
"Cranberries are a healthy fruit high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants and this is a great way to introduce more fruit into our nation's school and other food assistance programs," Lochner said. "The USDA's purchase will also assist cranberry growers nationwide, as they face an oversupply of their crop. This is a win-win situation for everyone."
Last year, Wisconsin produced nearly 4.5 million barrels of cranberries, which is about 60 percent of the nation's crop.
Under the USDA's Section 32 program, purchases of surplus food are funded by tariffs. The juice concentrate will be used across all food assistance programs, including school nutrition programs.