The U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized the industry to withhold a large portion of berries from the market so the supply will get back in balance with the demand.Let's translate.
Millions of pounds of the tart fruit could be used as fertilizer. Some of the glut could be donated to charities, or sold overseas in "non-competitive" markets, and some of it could be used as livestock feed.
“Basically, they’re going to destroy 25 percent of the crop,” said Paul Mitchell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison agricultural economist.
It’s something the growers, themselves, requested from the USDA through what’s called “volume regulation,” a rarely used federal order to deal with an oversupply of fruit.
Our Political Masters believe an excess supply of cranberries is in The Public Interest. Well, some of Our Political Masters. It's apparently not in The Public Interest to grow steel in cranberry bogs.
In many areas of agriculture, including berries, farmers have gotten better at producing higher volumes of commodity crops, to the point where the market becomes saturated and prices fall below the costs of production.Therefore, dear reader, in order to support your right to pay more for cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, some of the berries might be dumped overseas.
“It’s a broad problem in agriculture now. Generally what we’ve done in the past is export our excess. And that’s worked because there are a lot of hungry people out there,” Mitchell said.
But export opportunities have withered for many U.S. crops, especially for soybeans this year, as China implemented steep tariffs on American beans in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum and billions of dollars in other products.
Adam Smith's advice about treating any policy proposal emanating from commercial interests with the most suspicious attention applies here. When the government engages in "volume regulation," it's managing the cartel. A mob boss might not use such delicate terminology.
I hope I haven't harshed the Thanksgiving mellow.