The hearing for the certification of the class was postponed a month due to some illness. So look for those results at the end of February.
I’ve only been partially paying attention on the lawsuit, but now some big dates are on the horizon. Apparently the two sides met in mediation and that did not result in any, umm, mediation. So we go forward to the Class Certification hearing on January 21, 2016. I guess at this meeting with the judge, both sides will present their reasons to certify the class or reject certification of the class. That will be big either way and I don’t know if the judge rules immediately or some days after. Either way, I think the trial will be scheduled after that class certification hearing. Stay tuned folks. Time to get some popcorn.
Hey! We finally made some ice in Wisconsin. Will probably make a little more this weekend.
For those of you in Wisconsin, see you at cranberry school next week!
It’s that time of year..time to look back and reflect and to look forward as well. The good news, in my mind, is that the crop certainly wasn’t huge worldwide…it was more of a good, steady crop. With the increase of usage, the inventory growth has slowed, if even reversed a tick…we will see with the 12/31 numbers out at the end of January. The majority of the “oversupply” continues to be in concentrate, not whole frozen or finished goods.
Our mission continues to be selling our products over every inch of this planet…and I must say in my travels I have seen cranberries in many many places. We do a good job, and that will continue and must improve.
Independent growers are hurting due to low prices here in WI. The projected payments for the 2015 crop are not going to be high enough (still the base of $10 for one handler remains….but others with incentives could get to $15?16? ) for growers to return to profitability. A few spot sales at harvest kicked the price up temporarily, and for those growers that capitalized on that phenomenon, congrats. It was by no means widespread. But it is an indication on what happens when the crop is short.
Have you heard the news about United Cranberry Co operative? We will close down the co op in a few months when the all the revenues from the 2014 sales are collected and distributed. All of the United growers have joined a newly formed co op, Cranberry Growers Co operative called “CranGrow”, with some members from the old Wisconsin Cranberry Coop.
CranGrow has exciting plans for the future, and you should check them out at crangrow.com. I think that every Wisconsin grower should have at least a few acres in CranGrow. The co op will return all of its profits to its grower/owners….unlike many of the handlers in WI. Sure it takes a while to get up and going, but the early birds will be glad they took the risk on a new co op.
As far as my blog, I will keep going under blogunitedcranberry.com.
Finally, I’ve heard that last week was deposition week in Wisconsin for the lawsuit. Many growers and handlers were deposed last week at The Mead in Wisconsin Rapids. I’m not sure what all went down, but it seems like this is moving rapidly. No predictions here.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone, and see you in the New Year!
Well, maybe you didn’t wonder, but here is the answer anyway…
Oops, I missed the auction that happened a week or two ago and the GOOD NEWS is that the average price per gallon of $17.04 was up 8% over the July 2015 price! Not sure what exactly brought this about, but it is certainly good news. Maybe it was the crop numbers that look to be consistent versus last year, and down versus projections. Still a strong crop, but fortunately not a huge crop.
We are just finishing up harvest in Wisconsin…a few of the big growers are still going but the early results are showing a crop in WI that just didn’t get large. Lots of theories, like not enough heat, too much ice on the edges of the beds, early rain…on and on. Almost everyone I talked to was down. Two growers were above their estimates. No lines at the receiving stations. Back in February, the CMC predicted 8.8mm barrels for the US. Then in August the CMC lowered it to 8.6. Last year we grew a crop of just over 8mm barrels in the US, with WI producing 4.9mm barrels of that. On the other hand, MA is growing a huge crop, which for them is 2.3mm barrels. Other growing areas are on par with last year. I guess at this point, I can’t see the US as producing a crop even as big as last year..the 8mm barrel number. How low will it go? WI is down. Is it as low as 4.6mm barrels? Maybe, we will know soon.
Last year Canada and specifically, Quebec, really delivered. They had a huge crop. I’ve heard multiple reports of their crop being down in spite of their added acres. The reports just aren’t as detailed from that growing area, but can they do the 3.4 (Canada)/2.4mm(Quebec) barrels this year that they produced last year?
Add all of the above to the fact that CMC reports that we as an industry sold 1,000,000 barrels more in the 2014 crop year than the previous year. Usage is up and the crop at best is level, more likely with the crop reports from WI and Quebec (they produce 70%+ of the supply), the crop will be down. This will be the first time in a few years that we will take in less than we sell. This means we will start to impact our inventory numbers.
This is where things get really interesting, I think. Clearly, we have lots of inventory…but when you look more closely at the CMC numbers, the inventory is in the liquid form (well, maybe frozen liquid…concentrate). At the end of the 2014 crop (remember that was just 8/31) we had in inventory 2.7mm bbls whole frozen fruit …barely enough to keep the dryers going until the end of the year…and even now some lines are shut down in WI due to lack of fruit. In processed inventory (finished goods inventory) we were down to 1.8mm barrels from 1.9 the same time last year. We will have enough dried cranberries for the fall season, but the inventory is clearly tightening and will certainly be less next year. The 2015 crop will be up and running after the first of the year, and we will have plenty for everyone…until we run out. I really do think the dried cranberry inventory could be significantly impacted by this harvest. And, don’t forget that it is the drying process that makes so much of the concentrate…so finally THAT inventory can start coming down. Even if we have enough fruit to run they whole year…it certainly won’t be in the right location.
It is really too bad that we can’t make that concentrate into dried cranberries….