Wisconsin's cranberry growers would be grateful if you piled on an extra helping or two of cranberry relish on your plate this Thanksgiving.
That's because they're facing a glut of the fruit this fall.
Wisconsin’s annual cranberry harvest starts with a flood as berries float on the surface of a bog, pumped full of water, before they’re raked out in a seasonal ritual that’s just been completed.
This year, though, there’s been a flood of another kind in a surplus of cranberries that will result in about 25 percent of the crop being discarded, even spread on fields as fertilizer, to protect growers’ prices.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized the industry to withhold a large portion of berries from the market so the supply will get back in balance with the demand.
“It’s a broad problem in agriculture now. Generally what we’ve done in the past is export our excess. And that’s worked because there are a lot of hungry people out there,” said Paul Mitchell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison agricultural economist.
But export opportunities have withered for many U.S. crops, especially for soybeans this year, as China implemented steep tariffs on American beans in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum and billions of dollars in other products.
Cranberries, too, have been caught up in the trade wars with additional tariffs from Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China.
Read more in USA Today.