The Westfield Mead Grape Growers Co-op met Monday night to discuss a low offer by Cott Beverage Corporation, based out of Dunkirk New York.
Many of the growers sell exclusively to Cott now offering only $117 per ton of grapes. That’s half the price they were paying 2 years ago. The growers need at least $250 per ton to make a small profit. The growers told JET 24/ FOX 66 they can’t make ends meet with such a low price.
“That’s a huge loss for us and we have enough growers in our cooperative that are going to experience some very hard financial difficulties this year” Said Kirk Hutchinson a member of the co-op concerned about not selling his crop.
“After harvest we have an option to settle on a final price but, it doesn’t seem at this point that that is going to be happening” said Allan Rassie, President of the co-op.
He said negotiations for a higher price are unlikely.
“It will impact school districts, taxes, as far as growers there is quite a number of acres that belong to the cooperative, and it could impact other co-op’s such as Welch’s” he said describing the negative economic impact this could have on surrounding communities.