Midwest Food Processors: Find positive signs in WI 2010 agriculture statistics

Report Includes Positive Signs for Wisconsin Vegetable and Food Processing Industries

Though 2009 was a challenging year for Wisconsin farmers, the recently released edition of “Status of Wisconsin Agriculture” includes positive signs for Wisconsin’s agriculture and food processing industries.

“Despite some of the overall numbers, the report reinforces the fact that the state’s produce industry has kept Wisconsin among the top 5 processing states for both canned and frozen vegetable products” said Nick George, president of the Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA).

The report, published by the UW-Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, noted that:

Wisconsin processing vegetable growers produced larger crops of sweet corn and green peas in 2009. Wisconsin ranks 2nd nationally in production of vegetables (excluding tomatoes) for processing. Contract prices for processed vegetables remain strong. Wisconsin is a leading producer of processed sweet corn, with 81,300 acres planted in 2009. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois remain the nation’s largest concentrated production of canned and frozen vegetables.

“These findings further evidence the strength of this economic sector and its significance to Wisconsin and the Midwest”, George added.

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 and cucumbers.

The state has over 1,000 food processing facilities and is a major food processor hosting companies possessing national and international name recognition. The production of sweet corn for processing is heavily concentrated in the upper Midwest and the value of Wisconsin’s sweet corn crop for canning and freezing has reached $80.9 million.

“Wisconsin and the Midwest are home to a strong, vibrant food processing industry. This is due in part to the steady, reliable food supply and stable grower base provided by Wisconsin farmers” said George.

The Midwest Food Processors Association is the foremost voice of the food processing industry in the Midwest. The association lobbies on legislative and regulatory matters; promotes safe food processing practices; investigates new technologies; funds industry research; and plans industry events. It represents over 100 processing facilities in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota