As the harvest winds down in Wisconsin and all over North America, it is becoming abundantly clear that we can grow cranberries. Back in February and again in August, growers and handlers came together at the CMC meetings to contemplate a grower set aside. Even when faced with the prospect of a huge Wisconsin crop and fruit in the freezer the CMC members voted down any grower set aside. Well now I would like someone, anyone to review the wisdom of that decision and tell everyone if in hindsight, it was a good idea or not. I know for a fact that we filled up every inch of freezer space in Wisconsin and parts of freezers in neighboring states with a nice, clean crop that growers worked very hard to grow. The price projections are horrifying to the independent grower and this will indeed move on to OS as well. Why do I think that is true?
In fact, by my calculations and information, Ocean Spray is expecting to receive a patronage crop of 7.2mm barrels, yet according to the notes in their financial statements, they’ve only once (!) in 15 years sold 5mm barrels of patronage fruit in a calendar year and that was 2008. Patronage cranberry barrels sold from 2000 thru 2012 only once reached 5,060,000 barrels. Every other year during that span it was below 5mm barrels. So 7mm barrels will be hard to digest and that doesn’t include the 100,000s of barrels that OS takes in from non members. How do they deal with it? A company the size and complexity of OS needs crop in reserve, by their own estimation 4mm barrels. So, some overage is ok, but their supply has been growing and growing. Only they themselves know how much they have over and above what they need. But they handle the situation by extending the length of their pools and the cost of holding the fruit has to depress the return in the pool. A more efficient way might be to, hey, decrease the amount of fruit they grow. In coordination with the rest of the industry. And Canada. Oh, that’s right! We have such a mechanism, it is called the CMC.
Please CMC members. Get some facts. Correct me if I’m wrong. And this isn’t all about Ocean Spray. We will all do better if we manage the size of the crop.
We need to take a hard look at a marketing order at the February meeting. And while we are at it, lets look at that Webb Pomerene act again.
So today was the trade show and first day of the Wisconsin Winter growers meeting. Since United Cranberry had a booth, our director Tim Feit and I spent some time talking to growers and vendors alike.
EVERY grower was glad for this cold spell…it is the coldest bit of weather that we’ve had in probably 3 years and everyone is glad to be making some quality ice. I think we will be sanding soon. And since our personal lack of sand the last few years has been a running joke amongst a few, so there! Ice!
Otherwise, the independent growers are worried about price. And they should be! The OS auction is next week and they have already predicted a price for their 2012 B pool at $16-21. It is my understanding that all the B pool fruit goes into the auction, so they must have figured out how much everyone is going to bid? Is that mental telepathy or what? Go figure.
It was great seeing everyone. United Cranberry is working on some interesting projects that we hope to be able to tell you about soon. Keep warm and be safe.
So here is the amended complaint which lists all the plaintiffs, all of whom appear to be from Oregon. At first read, the story is compelling.
Did it ever occur to you that if growers didn’t join the Ocean Spray B pool and /or didn’t sell them independent fruit, that OS wouldn’t have any fruit/concentrate for the auction? You don’t see them selling their A pool fruit for that low a price! Something to think about as everyone on the B pool waiting list just got their notification of the new rules for the waiting list, which include a $350/acre fee. As United Cranberry is taking the steps to become a handler, maybe growers should consider all their options. Call us!
I’ve seen it in Wausau, WI at the Pic and Save….so I am sure it is everywhere. I will post a photo of the label…but this juice is not from concentrate so I’m thinking it is going to be good. Let’s all give it a try! I LOVE new cranberry products :)
So those of you that know me, know that I am new to this blogging thing. A few weeks ago, I figured out that if you tag and categorize your posts, they get into the Google search engine. In order to get news articles for the blog, I have a few google alerts set up, like Ocean Spray, Cott, Decas Cranberries, etc, etc. So imagine my surprise this morning, when google sends me an alert on a news story…on my very own blog posts! Yes, we have arrived! Today I received an alert on my post on the Ocean Spray auction. Will wonders never cease.
This is an interesting article about the future of growing cranberries.