US cranberry farmers face overproduction & price slump

People often associate cranberries with the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. One reason: The cranberry harvest season runs from September to November. But during the harvest season in late 2018, farmers on Cape Cod are among the nation’s cranberry growers facing a long spell of slumped prices and overproduction.

Adding to the pain are uncertainties that entail trade tensions. Chinese tariffs on $60 million in U.S. goods, including a 10 percent duty on U.S. exports of cranberry juice, went into effect Sept. 24, 2018. The tariffs, imposed in retaliation on the same day as Washington’s 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods, were added to pre-existing ones.

President Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping will meet late February in the hopes of resolving the trade dispute, the Wall Street Journal reported. At a meeting at the Oval Office with Trump, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China would buy 5 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans. The announcement came after two days of high-level talks between the U.S. and China in Washington. 

The cranberry industry is keeping a close eye on how the trade dynamics pan out, Brian Wick, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association in Plymouth, Massachusetts, told BU News Service in November 2018.

“The tariffs are concerning,” Wick said. “It’s still too early to know what the impact is going to be. It’s certainly not going to help. It’s going to make it more challenging, getting our products into those markets.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, in a rule posted in the Federal Register in September 2018, ordered farmers to deliver only 75 percent of their crop for the 2018-2019 growing year. The goal is to reduce inventory and boost prices, USDA said in the Federal Register.



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