This may be a statement of undisputed facts, but I’m thinking it will be disputed. Still, fascinating.
So, the weather has finally improved in Wisconsin, and it looks like we will grow some cranberries this year! It was a long, cold winter in these parts.
I hear that Clement Pappas is paying $23.50 base and Cliffstar/Cott is paying $22.50. Decas has paid $14.50 so far. A year ago these prices were inconceivable. The CMC 4/30/2013 inventory numbers will be out soon and we will see where we stand with inventory. There isn’t much to say, except the prices are too low and the crop is too high. See: CMC February non vote for producer allotment. Again, I say, opportunity lost.
You may have heard that the USDA has approved some cranberry concentrate purchases through the Section 32 funds. $5,000,000 worth comes to what, 125,000 barrels? Sure it will help, but certainly we have to get on the stick and sell some more!
Did you see the announcement for the USDA Value Added Grant? Your very own United Cranberry was awarded a $300,000 grant. We will be making finished product and attending trade shows with those (matching) working capital funds. We are excited and grateful!
Finally, the cran wars continue. Here is a link on the latest, filed today.
So this time last year we had irrigation pipes in, and cranberry growing season was fully underway. This year NOT! Lots of snow, ice and rain and it will be a few days/weeks before everything starts moving. We are READY!
Not much to report about except for that darn lawsuit. In an interesting post, it looks like Miller Canfield (the law firm that almost got things going a couple of years ago) is going to sign on as co counsel on this lawsuit.
Also, here are the plaintiff’s reasons that the judge shouldn’t listen to Ocean Spray’s request for dismissal:
Interesting reading for a dreary day…
Ok, so seriously? I had the wrong link up for a couple of days and just now someone tells me? I know people are reading the blog because I see the stats…so THANK YOU:)
Ok, so in the ongoing lawsuit between Ocean Spray and independent growers, plaintiffs (independent growers) finally got their amended complaint in and filed. Phew! It was amended a few times. Ocean Spray has responded “hogwash” and wants the judge to throw most of the complaint out. I have to say, a lot of what Ocean Spray says makes some sense. Now the judge has to rule whether to let the case go forward or not. ***remember*** I’m not a lawyer, nor do I even attempt it. When my computer starts working and will let me post actually open an adobe file, I will post the link. Very interesting reading. The OS attachments include some interesting historical reading…re..the “severe” shortage of crop in the 2008 Annual report and the efforts they made to get planting going. They left out that they told all the indedepents to “keep on planting” and here we are in 2013 with a impending huge supply of cranberries. Everyone. Who wants to bet at their upcoming Annual Meeting that all blame for the supply situation will fall on the independent growers? Just saying.
I had hoped that the CMC would actually do their job to sustain orderly markets. Epic fail.
After all the gyrations yesterday, it was apparent a 35% producer allotment was the right number to take some 2mm barrels out of the supply, to assure orderly markets. This morning the motion was made to remove 25%, to make sure there was enough fruit to enter new markets, I guess. The motion falied with only 4 members voting for it. 2 abstentions Amazing. The Ocean Spray members seemed impatient to vote no, and when they got their chance they did vote no. Only one broke with the crowd and abstained. So, US growers, we are preparing to grow a crop of 7.5mm barrels and the markets only need 2.2mm barrels. You do the math!
I predict that some day we will look back and wish that we would have done something to help ourselves. Opportunity lost.
So I spent most of the weekend talking and reading about cranberries. After a second look at the CMC numbers, I must say that we have a boat load of cranberries to sell. Some people look at this crop and say it kinda mirrors the 2008 crop…big production everywhere. But really the US crop was in check and up “only” 200,000 barrels, where by the British Columbia and Quebec crops came in huge. The 2008 crop was followed by a down 2009 and 2010 crop which saved our collective backsides. The prices were recovering when 2012 happened. So here we are again.
No one in the US wants to do a volume regulation as long as Quebec and eastern Canada can bring in as much as they want to. BC has some mechanism whereby they mirror the US set aside, if we have one. So BC is playing along. I’ve heard that Quebec just isn’t there yet. If they don’t figure it out this year, they will when their bins are still full in October and they have another crop to harvest. We know, we’ve done this before in the US. So if you are from Quebec, please, please study up on this and get going. If everyone manages the crop together we can stablize prices. Otherwise we are going to pay the handlers to take them, and we all know who makes money in that situation. A whooshing sound right out of the growers pocket. And remember growers, some, not all handlers will be honest with you. Some will say that they need all this fruit because they want unfettered access to cheap fruit. Well, I may not know much, but even I can figure out that when we delivered a US and foreign acquired crop of 10,000,000 barrels and we sell about 8,500,000 barrels a year there is plenty of fruit to go around.
My other thought was about foreign markets and SDCs. Really, you have to give it to Ocean Spray with that Cran Chile acquistion. They are going to get access to markets without a tariff as Chile has a bunch of free trade partners, as does Canada. So their fruit from those areas can be exported cheaply. The rest of our handlers will have to pay some steep tariffs. Not all of OS’s handle will export cheaply, but they will have an advantage. So, I guess, I say…begrudgingly…good for them. Get those cranberries consumed around the world. I also know that the other SDC guys, Marianni, Decas and Graceland are all overseas too, so it isn’t all about price. It is about the quality of product and the price to convert, so lets go! Lets teach the world about the healthy cranberry! Let’s work together to make the MAP funds and CMC funds make something happen overseas.
So the CMC sent out the Q1 report on the cranberry inventory AND the 10 comparative report. Yikes. There is some good news and bad news. If any one ever wondered if we can grow cranberries…the answer is YES! And apparently Canada can as well. The crop was up in every growing area or even with last year. The bad news, is we have quite a few berries in the freezers. While this report doesn’t distinquish between independent and Ocean Spray, suffice it to say, everyone has cranberries.
So, got ideas? We need a marketing program ASAP. I think that will be the focus of the CMC meeting in Tampa in late February.