Push for more Wisconsin cranberries

July 19, 2008 at 11:37 PM

MADISON, Wis., July 19 (UPI) -- The president of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. and other cranberry industry leaders are pushing to add 5,000 acres of cranberries in Wisconsin.

Cranberries grow on 18,000 acres in the state. Increasing that by 28 percent would add 1,115 jobs, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.

"We'll go where the fruit is but we're prepared to make the investment here," said Randy Papadellis, president and chief operating officer of Ocean Spray, said.

Executives from Cliffstar Corp., an Ocean Spray competitor, and the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association joined Papadellis in lobbying for the additional acreage. They were seeking expedited action from the state Department of Natural Resources.

Ocean Spray, a cooperative, has spent $200 million on expansion in Wisconsin in the last six years, including $50 million invested in its Craisins plant in Wisconsin Rapids. Papadellis said if the state produces more fruit Ocean Spray will invest $100 million more in processing facilities.

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