Midwest Food Processors tout Wisconsin vegetable production
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The Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA) recently touted Wisconsin’s second place ranking nationally for total production and value of production for major processing vegetables in 2015. The findings were released 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 state 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.
Wisconsin 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 the production of snap beans for processing, as Wisconsin farmers processed 43 percent of the nation’s crop. Harvested acres were up from 64,100 acres in 2014 to 65,300 acres in 2015. Nationally, snap bean production rose 12 percent.
Wisconsin remained in third place for processing sweet corn in 2015, producing 490,230 tons. Harvested acres decreased by 5,100 to 60,700 acres. U.S. processing sweet corn production was down 3 percent to 2.49 million tons. The production of sweet corn for processing is heavily concentrated in the Midwest. Wisconsin’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 totaled 81,120 tons in 2015, up 15 percent from the previous year, keeping Wisconsin the third largest state nationally in green pea processing. Processing pea production in the U.S. rose 13 percent to 411,320 tons.
Carrots for processing went down 9 percent in Wisconsin from the previous year. The state accounts for 33 percent of the nation’s production. Nationally, carrot production was down.
According to George, carrots are processed as fresh packed articles including peeled baby carrots, carrot sticks, shredded carrots and salad mixes. Processing markets include baby food production, frozen and canned products.
The state’s cucumber for pickle production was slightly down in 2015 at 3 percent. Harvested acreage though remained at 5,400 and yields were down also. U.S. production, at 533,460 tons was down 1 percent from a year ago.