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A surplus of Wisconsin's cranberries are expected to be bought by the federal government

A surplus of cranberries in Wisconsin is expected to be reduced by a large purchase from the federal government.

The USDA is buying 18-million-dollars worth of cranberries nationally for food assistance programs. And Wisconsin will get a big chunk of that business, since the Badger State produces about 60-percent of the nation's total crop.

Cranberry growers have had record harvests in recent years - and because the demand has not kept up, market prices have dropped. Tom Lochner of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association says the USDA has helped the industry in the past - but this is the largest purchase it has made in awhile. He says another thing that hurts the industry is that many people think cranberries are a luxury, and are expendable during hard economic times.