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Wisconsin cranberry growers turn to China for business

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's cranberry industry is looking to China to drum up business -- and the prices growers receive for their fruit.

An oversupply of domestic berries has kept those prices down.

So this week, the state agriculture department brought in a group of potential Chinese buyers to tour central Wisconsin cranberry bogs and meet with local growers. Professionals from a number of Chinese industries made the visit, which was funded by a block grant from the USDA.

The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune said the meetings did not produce any business deals, but Tom Lochner of the state's cranberry growers association said it was great to establish relationships. He said the visit was successful in introducing the state's cranberry industry to Chinese businesses that might not have been familiar with it.

Roger Zhang of SMH International said China's cranberry market has grown in the last 3 years, as people learn more about the fruit's nutritional benefits.

Wisconsin makes about 60 percent of all U.S. cranberries. The state expects a harvest of 5.4 million barrels this year.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)