A geographic survey of the cranberry industry in the United States

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Reinemann, Martin W.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geography




The purpose of this paper is to present a geographic picture of the cranberry industry in the United States which up until this time was described only on a state by state basis. Material for this study was obtained from government publications and interviews with many people connected with the industry. The cranberry industry of Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin is analyzed with the use of statistics supplied by the Census of Agriculture: 1964 and other material obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture in each state. It was found that the industry on the east coast in Massachusetts and New Jersey is the most important but is declining in total acreage. It is here that the industry has the lowest yield per acre. On the west coast, in Washington and Oregon, the industry is small but expanding rapidly. It is in this area that the highest state average yields per acre have been established. Wisconsin is the only major producer in the Midwest. Here the industry is expanding in the north central area, declining in the northwest region and is fairly stable in the central area. The yield per acre is highest in the north central district and increasing. In the central portion the yield is high and stable. In the northwest the yield per acre is lower than in the other areas in the state. In Wisconsin, as in the other states, the physical operations are fairly similar. The vines are planted and after three to four years they begin to produce commercially. In the fall the berries are harvested mechanically both by flood and dry harvesting methods. After harvest, the berries are marketed, for the most part, through cooperatives like Ocean Spray Cranberries, Incorporated. Most of the berries are sold processed but some are sold fresh. On the whole, except on the east coast, the cranberry industry is expanding in acreage. In all areas the yield per acre is increasing as is total production. The number of farms is decreasing and their size is increasing. A Federal Marketing Order seems to be creating a rapid increase in total acreage and this could also stabilize total production.


Includes bibliographical references.


95 pages




Northern Illinois University

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