May 03, 2013

USDA Announces Plan to Purchase Up to $5 Million of Cranberry Concentrate

Senators Warren and Cowan, Congressmen McGovern, Kennedy, Keating Say Decision will Support Massachusetts Cranberry Growers

WASHINGTON, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and William "Mo" Cowan, along with Congressmen James McGovern, William Keating, and Joseph P. Kennedy III, today applauded the decision of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase up to $5 million of cranberry concentrate for federal nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.

"I'm pleased the USDA has announced plans to buy cranberry products for federal nutrition assistance programs," said Senator Warren. "This purchase will help support hardworking cranberry growers throughout Massachusetts who play an important role in our local economy and will provide our children with another drink alternative."

"While meeting and talking with cranberry growers in the Commonwealth this week, I saw first-hand how critical their work is to our agriculture industry and overall economy, and what a fine and storied tradition we have of cranberry farming," said Senator Cowan. "This investment will go a long way in helping growers get the support they need to continue to produce this important and nutritional crop."

"Cranberry production is a critical component of Massachusetts' agricultural economy," said Congressman McGovern.  "I applaud the USDA for this decision, which will also benefit our food insecure neighbors."

"Cranberry growers are a vibrant part of the 4th District's economy and a critical industry for our Commonwealth," said Congressman Kennedy. "I applaud the USDA for bringing cranberry products to this country's federal nutrition assistance programs."

"I applaud the announcement by the USDA to purchase cranberry concentrate - a decision that will directly assist cranberry growers across the Commonwealth," said Congressman Keating.  "I represent the largest number of cranberry growers across the state and have co-founded the Congressional Cranberry Caucus to help these small business owners and this historic industry.  It is great to see the efforts of the Caucus finally pay off."

In March, a group of 14 U.S. Senators and Representatives, including Senators Warren and Cowan, and Congressmen McGovern, Keating, and Kennedy, signed a letter asking Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to purchase cranberry concentrate to support local cranberry growers. The letter was sent in response to possible adverse impacts on cranberry prices expected during the coming months. The full of text of this letter may be viewed here.