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The Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA) touted Wisconsin’s second place ranking nationally for total production and value of production for major processing vegetables in 2014. The findings were released January 30 by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service.
“Food processing is strongly tied to the agricultural community. Wisconsin places perennially in the top five in growing and processing such crops as potatoes, sweet corn, peas, snap beans, carrots, cucumbers and cabbage for kraut,” said Nick George, president of MWFPA.
The state is a major food processor hosting companies possessing national and international name recognition. Wisconsin’s vegetable industry is a major contributor to the state’s $6.3 billion specialty crop industry and employs over 35,000 Wisconsin residents.
The USDA figures show the Badger State maintained its number one ranking in production of processing snap beans, as Wisconsin farmers processed 46 percent of the nation’s crop. Harvested acres were up from 59,800 acres in 2013 to 64,100 in 2014. Nationally, snap bean production rose 2 percent, due to an additional 9,300 acres harvested.
Wisconsin remained in third place for processing sweet corn in 2014, producing 542,160 tons. Harvested acres decreased by 700 to 65,800 acres. U.S. processing sweet corn production was up about 1 percent to 2.57 million tons. The production of sweet corn for processing is heavily concentrated in the upper Midwest. The state’s sweet corn industry produces an annual state economic impact of nearly $130 million when its yearly sweet corn crop is processed.
Green pea production in Wisconsin in 2014 totaled 70,640 tons, down 6 percent from the previous year, but despite the decrease in production Wisconsin remained third in the nation. Processing pea production in the U.S. rose 2 percent to 362,860 tons.
The state remained as one of the two largest states for production of carrots for processing comprising 33 percent of the nation’s production. Yields were up 2 percent in Wisconsin during 2014 despite a 9 percent drop nationally.
The state’s cucumber for pickle production was slightly down in 2014. Harvested acreage decreased by 500 from 5,900 acres and yields were down also. U.S. production, at 481,740 tons, was up about 2 percent from a year ago.
George added “Wisconsin ranks second nationally behind only California in the production of all processed vegetables.”