The Cranberry Revitalization Task Force, created by an act of the Massachusetts Great and General Court, and comprised of members representing the Executive and Legislative branches of the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and stakeholders within the cranberry industry, was convened in early 2016. The objective was to examine the status of the industry and the complex challenges ahead, and to develop a multi-pronged action plan geared toward stabilizing and revitalizing this beleaguered industry.
The Task Force, through this Final Report, identified potential strategies to support the industry. Through the work of its members, the Task Force focused on three main categories: 1) Renovation, 2) Technology & Innovation and 3) Exit Strategies. Solutions relative to Renovation and Technology & Innovation seek to address the efficiency and cost of production, a more controllable variable than the uncertainty of fluctuating prices per barrel. Additionally, Exit Strategies provide potential options to retire bogs and provide an economic incentive for growers to maintain land for conservation purposes.
The recommendations presented in this report require a collaborative effort to accomplish, both in short and long-term timelines. The importance of the Massachusetts cranberry industry, from both economic and environmental perspectives has been well documented. The potential positive impact from the Task Force initiatives will be felt for years to come. The energy, ideas and commitment that resulted should provide a spring-board for further innovation and progress in the future. The commercial cranberry industry started in Massachusetts 200 years ago this year. It is only fitting that the Task Force complete its work in the bicentennial of cranberry production. The recommendations made today will help lay the framework for the next 200 years of Massachusetts cranberry production.
Task Force recommendations can be found in the Report starting on page 14.
Massachusetts Cranberry Revitalization Task Force Members
- Co-Chair Secretary Matthew Beaton, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (Designee – Deputy Undersecretary Daniel Sieger)
- Co-Chair Commissioner John Lebeaux, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (Designee – Assistant Commissioner Jason Wentworth)
- Senator Viriato deMacedo, Plymouth, Appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, Bruce Tarr
- Senator Marc Pacheco, Taunton, Appointed by the President of the Senate, Stanley Rosenberg
- Senator Michael Rodrigues, Westport, Appointed by the President of the Senate, Stanley Rosenberg
- Representative Susan Williams Gifford, Wareham, Appointed by House Minority Leader, Bradley Jones
- Representative Paul Schmid, Westport, Appointed by the Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo
- Representative William Straus, Mattapoisett, Appointed by the Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo
- Commissioner Judith Judson, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (Designee- Deputy Commissioner Dan Burgess)
- Commissioner George Peterson, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (Designee – Deputy Director Jack Buckley)
- Commissioner Martin Suuberg, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Designee – Deputy Regional Director David Johnston)
- Dawn Gates-Allen, Grower, Freetown Farms, Freetown
- Matthew Beaton, Grower, Beaton’s, Inc., East Sandwich
- Daniel Crocker, Vice President, Cooperative Development & Special Counsel, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.
- Carolyn DeMoranville, University of Massachusetts Amherst Cranberry Station
- Catherine deRonde, Agricultural Economist, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
- Parker Mauck, Director of Grower Relations and Corporate Purchasing, Decas Cranberry Products
- Susan Meharg, Grower, Cedar Meadow Cranberries, Plymouth
Enabling Legislation: Chapter 46 S.162 of the Acts of 2015:
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a cranberry industry revitalization task force which shall consist of the following members: the secretary of energy and environmental affairs or a designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the commissioner of agricultural resources or a designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the commissioner of energy resources or a designee; the commissioner of environmental protection or a designee; the commissioner of fish and game or a designee; 3 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 3 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 3 representatives from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association to be appointed by the governor from a list of 6 names submitted by the association; 1 representative of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. to be appointed by the governor; 1 representative of an independent cranberry handler company to be appointed by the governor; 1 researcher from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Cranberry Station to be appointed by the governor; and 1 agricultural economist to be appointed by the commissioner of agricultural resources.
The task force shall investigate short-term and long-term solutions to preserving and strengthening the commonwealth’s cranberry industry. The task force shall examine methods to promote innovation in and the revitalization of the cranberry farming community including, without limitation, the impact of increased fixed costs borne by the cranberry growing community, alternative and renewable energy uses for growers and an investigation of the unique geography, culture and needs of the cranberry industry.
The task force shall submit its findings, together with drafts of recommended legislation, if any, to the clerks of the Senate and House of Representatives, the chairs of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture and the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than February 1, 2016.