Feds to purchase surplus Washington cranberries
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved spending up to $55 million nationwide to purchase up to 68 million pounds of surplus cranberry products, a move that will boost Washington cranberry growers, members of the state’s political delegation said Monday. Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, and Reps. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat, and Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican, applauded the decision. The four political delegation members last week asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to authorize the agency to buy surplus foods from farmers for use in food and nutrition programs.Washington is the fifth largest producer of cranberries in the U.S., and is expected to produce 162,000 barrels this year. The lawmakers, citing industry numbers, said the state is home to 110 farms on 1,700 acres, which provide 165 direct jobs.