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Wisconsin’s specialty crop acres, values down


Jed Colquhoun, a professor of horticulture at UW–Madison, speaks during the 2019 Wisconsin Agricultural Outlook Forum. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

A University of Wisconsin economist says the state’s specialty crop growers are feeling the financial pinch of lower prices. Jed Colquhoun from the University of Wisconsin says, “We’ve almost become too efficient in some cases for our own good, and we find ourselves in an oversupply situation that’s unfortunately matched by reduced or stagnant consumption.”

Colquhoun spoke at the University of Wisconsin Ag Outlook Forum Tuesday, and says planted acres for processed vegetables are down 21% since a 2012 peak and the crop value is down 53% since 2013.

He says that is impacting jobs in the processing, packaging, and distribution sector. “We see a decrease in production jobs of 24%, a decrease in processing jobs of 32%, and balanced out over that total piece a decrease of 29% in employment with specialty crops across the state.”

He says like other crops, production costs are up and crop values are down. 

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