Agri Leader

Ag News in Brief

S. Korean journalists tour Wis. cranberry bog CRANMOOR, Wis. - Wisconsin cranberry farmers hosted a group of South Korean journalists last week as part of an effort to expand exports to that country. The United States exported more than 15,400 barrels of cranberries to South Korea last year, up from 200 barrels in 2003, according to Daily Tribune Media. Wisconsin is the nation's top cranberry producer. Ben Rezin, whose family owns Cranmoor Cranberries, said he was happy to give six journalists a tour of his marshes last Tuesday.
"The Asian market is the next big thing," Rezin said. "If we can spread that word to the journalists over there, and they can spread the word, it would be huge." The journalists also toured the Jacob Searles Cranberry Co. and Gottschalk Cranberry Inc., where they saw berries being harvested. Shin Chung, of the Cranberry Marketing Council in South Korea, said one impressive thing about the farms was the size. South Korean farms are typically about 2.5 acres, he said. Cranmoor Cranberries has about 2,000 acres. Chung also said the perception of cranberries as a healthy food appeals to South Korean consumers, who are health-oriented. Alaska seafood processor issues recall SITKA, Alaska - A Sitka seafood processor has recalled two years' worth of product after a state inspection found monitoring equipment had failed. KCAW reports the recall covers all vacuum-packed smoked fish produced by Big Blue Fisheries for the last two years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the recall two weeks ago. Mike Keating, with Big Blue, says his company cooperated with state and federal agencies. He says no dangerous bacteria were discovered. He says he thinks the agencies have blown the issue out of proportion. Greg Johnstone, with Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation, found a recording graph on the smoker wasn't working during an inspection last month. He says on a commercial smoker, there must be a continuous recording graph showing the internal temperature of the fish inside. Ga. farmers growing more tobacco in 2013 MACON, Ga. - Georgia farmers have planted between 13,000 and 15,000 acres of tobacco this year, University of Georgia agricultural cooperative officials say. Professor and cooperative extension agronomist Michael Moore told the Telegraph of Macon Georgia farmers have planted more tobacco in 2013 than any of the past four years. The increase in tobacco growing in the state is linked to an increase in local demand. A hurricane that hit North Carolina negatively impacted tobacco crops there in 2010 and left consumers looking elsewhere. This year, heavy rainfall could skew production totals and shift demand elsewhere. "So this year comes along and not only in Georgia, but all the way up through South Carolina and North Carolina, the crop is hurt by excessive rainfall," Moore said. "North Carolina is reporting about a 25 percent shortfall, South Carolina is at least that much, and then Georgia is probably going to be in the neighborhood of a 40 to 45 percent shortfall." There are about 150 farmers growing tobacco in Georgia, which is a steep decline from around 1,000 growers from about 25 years ago, Moore said. He added that although there are fewer people growing tobacco in Georgia, the size of the farms has gotten larger. Some farmers say the labor-intensive nature of tobacco farming likely steers farmer toward growing other crops. "I don't see new growers jumping into it, because there is no guarantee," said Daniel Johnson, of Alma. "You have to have a lot of equipment, and it's a lot of expensive equipment. ... You don't go out and buy new stuff. I've been in a survival mode for 10 years." The Associated Press