The Massachusetts cranberry industry gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the 130th Annual Meeting of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association (CCCGA), a tribute to cranberries as the Commonwealth’s largest agricultural food crop and the official state fruit.  More than 300 cranberry growers and their employees, industry leaders, businesses that provide goods and services to the industry, legislators and federal and state agencies were present. Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA 9th District), co-chair of the Congressional Cranberry Caucus, addressed the crowd at Plympton’s Upland Sportsman Club, speaking to the challenges facing growers and his commitment to help sustain the industry in Massachusetts. Ninety percent of the state’s cranberry acreage falls within Rep. Keating’s Congressional district.

State Representative Bill Straus (D-Rochester), chair of the UMass Cranberry Station Board of Oversight spoke to his work on Beacon Hill, fighting on behalf of the growers and the UMass Cranberry Station. Rep. Straus has introduced several pieces of legislation this session that if passed, will positively impact the future of the industry.  The legislation would also support other measures as recommended by the work of the Cranberry Industry Revitalization Task Force, of which Rep. Straus was a member.

Massachusetts Agricultural Commissioner John Lebeaux, co-chair of the Cranberry Task Force, spoke to the importance of the industry to the Commonwealth, outlining programs in place that may benefit growers. Commissioner Lebeaux has provided steady leadership and thoughtful vision to the state’s agricultural agency. Newly appointed UMass Cranberry Station Director Dr. Hilary Sandler, in her debut address to the audience, unveiled a portrait of longtime former Station Director Carolyn DeMoranville.

Statistician Sherry Deane of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reviewed the 2017 cranberry crop forecast. According to their report, Massachusetts is projecting a crop of 2,200,000 barrels (each barrel equals 100 pounds), down approximately 4% from 2016 crop figures. Overall, the U.S. cranberry crop is projected to be 9,050,000, down 2% from the 2016 harvest. Massachusetts remains second in cranberry growing production in the country, at approximately 22%.  Wisconsin maintains the number one position, yielding 60% of cranberries grown in the U.S.

“The Massachusetts’ crop outlook is favorable, many growers are optimistic for a good season,” shared CCCGA Executive Director Brian Wick.  “After last year’s challenging drought, this season’s crop currently looks promising, supported by cool and wet conditions during early summer, slightly slowing crop progression.”

For more information on the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, visit www.cranberries.org or follow the Association on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association

The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association represents more than 325 cranberry growers in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Nantucket. Cranberries are the largest agricultural food commodity produced in Massachusetts, with an annual crop value of $68.9 million.  Massachusetts is home to 30% of all North American cranberry acreage and according to a recent Farm Credit East Knowledge Exchange Report, provides over 6,900 jobs and a total economic benefit of over $1.4 billion to the Massachusetts economy. For further information, contact Brian Wick, Executive Director, Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, bwick@cranberries.org or at 508-866-7878.  For the latest updates, visit www.cranberries.org or follow the Association on Facebook and Twitter.