USDA tells farmers to cut cranberry production
7/07/2000-The government has decided to have
farmers cut production or dump about 15%
of their cranberry crop this fall to lower
the surplus and reverse a decrease in prices.
The impact on consumer prices will be modest,
USDA officials said Thursday, and Ocean Spray,
a grower cooperative that accounts for 70%
of cranberry production, says it even plans
to reduce prices despite the production limit.
Under USDA's new limits, growers will be
allowed this year to sell only 85% of their
usual production, which means they will have
to dispose of about 884,000 barrels of fruit.
Prices paid to growers have dropped from
a peak of $65.90 per barrel in 1996 to $38.80
per barrel for the 1998 crop, and they are
expected to drop below $30 for the 1999 crop,
USDA says. Ocean Spray spokesman Chris Phillips
said the company would cut prices to help
clear the surplus but he wouldn't say by
how much. The company is also changing its
labeling to try to stimulate consumer demand.