2018 Producer allotment marketing order is approved!

12 Sep

The Secretary of Agriculture has signed the marketing order as it was proposed in the Federal Register. Here


Almost a year ago, we met in Long Beach WA and the CMC voted

1 Aug

They voted in August 2017 for a Handler set aside for the 2017 crop and a producer allotment for the 2018 crop.

The USDA Secretary of Agriculture enacted (finally!) a Handler set aside of 15% for the 2017 crop.  My understanding is that many of the handlers were exempt from that set aside.  The 2018 producer allotment was proposed in the Federal Register on 4/27/18 and the comment period ended 5/29/18.  Still no word from the Secretary on a final rule.  Cranberry Harvest in Wisconsin begins in less than 60 days.  What in the heck are they waiting for? Tick tock.

My thoughts are that the USDA stepped in it when they tied the two different kinds of actions (handler and producer) together by saying essentially, if you are a handler and you were exempt in 2017, you are exempt in 2018.  Problem is, the 2018 is a producer allotment, a totally different regulation than the 2017 handler set aside.  So the USDA is saying if you are a producer and you deliver to a handler who was exempt in 2017 then you as a grower are exempt in 2018.  Wow. Clear as mud.

Here is a clear, simple solution.  Enact a 2018 Handler set aside of 15% ( a lower amount, since mother nature did HER part with the 2017 crop). If handlers have no carryover, ie frozen fruit or concentrate in freezer on January 31 then they are exempt.  If a handler has an excess of concentrate, let them dispose of 100% of their restricted fruit in concentrate if they want.  Yes, the handlers will yell that they bear the costs of disposal but everyone knows the disposal will be in sort outs and concentrate which will have the added benefit of decreasing the inventory of concentrate which EVERYONE knows is 99% of the problem.  Come on, just do it.

Or, do you have a better idea??  it’s probably too late to make suggestions, but why not?  The Secretary can basically do whatever he wants regardless of what he proposed in the Federal Register.

No tariffs from EU for Cranberries

11 Jun


This came out Friday…good news!

Let’s talk about planting….

5 Jun

I keep seeing new acres going in….some new beds being constructed and some renovations. I get it. Every farmer’s goal in life is to have the highest production for the lowest annual costs. Efficiency. But lets think about the industry and this thing called supply and demand.

*The industry’s sales growth over the past 18-20 years has been averaging 1-2% a year. (According to CMC charts, in barrels)

*A 1% growth in acreage on an 80 acre marsh is .8 acre/year. Save them up and renovate a 4 acre bed every 5 years. 1000 acre marsh is 10 acres a year.

*if you are planting/renovating varieties with average production at the rate of 1-2%a year, then you’re keeping up with the sales increase. A reasonable thing to do.

*if you are planting/renovating new varieties with double the average production, at more than the rate of 1-2% a year, you are contributing to the oversupply. Why?

*the smallish 2017 crop is proof that supply matters. Prices are up in SDCS and concentrate. These increases had little to do with the 2017 marketing order as little fruit has been disposed of yet. Thank you Mother Nature.

One thing I will ALWAYs do from here on out is pay attention to the CMC numbers and the amount of carry-out inventory. In the chart below, it is easy to see why, finally, the CMC voted for a marketing order in both 1999 and 2016 for ensuing crops. In my mind, the correct percentage of carry out is between 50 and 75%. Lower than that and we won’t have product to grow markets, above 75% gets us low prices. And above 100% is just dumb. The CMC estimates that with a set aside we will get to the low 80% range. We should all be thankful that the CMC had the courage to recognize the problem and do something. The USDA has not signed the final order and the proposed order has some issues BUT, it should get us closer to the desirable inventory levels.


It is up to us growers to pay attention and exercise some restraint in our planting /renovations.

Lots of cranberry news today

27 Apr

Lassonde purchases Old Orchard Here

Proposed marketing order 2018 published

27 Apr


After a quick read, the USDA is proposing the same exemption as the 2017, so if you handle 125,000 bbls or less or don’t have any carryover you are exempt. The comment period is 30 days.

Graceland-CranGrow announcement

27 Apr

Graceland Fruit Announces Wisconsin Expansion

Addition of State-of-the-art Production Facility Provides

30 Percent Increase in Manufacturing Capacity


Frankfort, MI. April 27, 2018 Graceland Fruit, a global leader in the production of dried fruit, announces the expansion of its operations through an alliance with Wisconsin-based Cranberry Growers Cooperative (CranGrow) that allows it to staff and operate a new, state-of-the-art processing plant in Warrens, Wisconsin.

Graceland Fruit purchases Wisconsin cranberries to manufacture dried cranberries in its Frankfort, Michigan facilities. The overwhelming success of global sales of its dried cranberries has led to demand outpacing its current production capacity. The CranGrow alliance provides Graceland Fruit with increased manufacturing capacity to support its global growth plans and provides CranGrow members/growers access to worldwide markets through Graceland Fruit’s well-established sales network.

“We have established invaluable relationships in the marketplace, as well as a strong sales force that has resulted in demand outpacing our current manufacturing capacity.  In 2017, CranGrow opened a new, modern production facility, and will benefit from a more established market.  So, it made sense to work together to meet mutual goals,” said Graceland Fruit CEO Al DeVore.

DeVore said Graceland Fruit’s manufacturing capacity will increase by approximately 30 percent with the addition of the 50,000 square foot Warrens processing facility.   Graceland now boasts 285,000 square feet of manufacturing space combined in Warrens and Frankfort.

CranGrow will remain an independent grower cooperative that supplies Graceland Fruit. All 61 current CranGrow employees at the Warrens facility will become Graceland Fruit employees, increasing the company’s total employment to approximately 275.

“We’re excited to begin this alliance that will greatly benefit both CranGrow and Graceland Fruit,” said CranGrow Board Chair Linda Prehn.  “Graceland Fruit is a world leader in the production of dried cranberries.  By combining our resources in Wisconsin with Graceland’s manufacturing expertise and global sales network, we are establishing a solid future for growers, employees and the community.”

Graceland Fruit and CranGrow have been working together to create a seamless transition and integration plan. “Members of Graceland Fruit’s research and development, technical and quality staffs are working hand-in-hand at the Wisconsin facility to assist the team in implementing Graceland Fruit’s rigorous standards – ensuring that the new facility produces the consistent quality customers have come to expect from Graceland Fruit products,” added DeVore.

About Graceland Fruit

With headquarters in Frankfort, Michigan, Graceland Fruit produces and markets dried fruit and other products to over fifty countries worldwide. Its customer base includes some of the largest and most prestigious commercial baking and food companies in the world. The company also markets its branded products to consumers in retail outlets and online. Early innovators of the technology used for drying tart cherries and cranberries, Graceland Fruit has twice been named Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year. Primary product lines include dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries and apples. For more information, visit www.gracelandfruit.com.


About Cranberry Growers Cooperative (CranGrow)

For CranGrow, growing cranberries isn’t just a business, it is a way of life. It was founded by more than 30 Wisconsin cranberry growers passionate about growing cranberries. The growing operations that constitute the cooperative are family-owned and operated farms that have been passed on from generation to generation, several more than 100 years old.