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Cranberry producers like parts of Farm Bill, question other parts

UNDATED (WXPR) -- President Obama is set to sign the nearly one ­trillion dollar Farm Bill Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. One leading agricultural crop in northern and central Wisconsin is cranberries. A state organization spokesperson says there are some good things for growers in the bill.

Tom Lochner leads the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association in Wisconsin Rapids. While he's not done analyzing the bill, he says some items he's seen are positive. "Things like the market assistance program which things like commodities which are used to develop international markets. We've relied on those and been able to increase our exports from five to ten percent of the crop to over thirty percent of the crop right now."

Other provisions include support for conservation funding programs and agricultural research which Lochner says are important to cranberry growers. He says one key provision in the bill is crop insurance. "A conservation compliance requirement for crop insurance...we're looking through that language and trying to determine how it will apply to cranberry growers because we don't have highly erodible lands but the question is how will that requirement impact cranberry growers."

Wisconsin continues to lead the nation in cranberry production.

Lochner says Wisconsin Congressional members Republican Reid Ribble in the House and Democrat Tammy Baldwin in the Senate helped them get needed language for cranberry growers in the bill.

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