CranGrow expected to add dozens of jobs, expand industry in Wisconsin

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WARRENS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Governor Scott Walker praised job growth in the state during the grand opening of a new cranberry facility in Warrens.

Walker officially opened the Cranberry Growers Cooperative's new $20 million facility expansion during a ribbon cutting ceremony, Thursday.

“It just reinforces how important cranberries are not only to Warrens and to this county, and this region, but to the whole state,” said Walker. “We're proud of the fact that nearly 60 percent of all the cranberries in American come from here, the state of Wisconsin.”

CranGrow is expected to add upwards of sixty new employees with the new expansion.

“The unemployment rate is at a 15 year low and the percentage of people working in the state is one of the highest in country,” added Walker. “Projects like this will only continue to make things better.”

As the second largest cranberry cooperative in the world Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) says it's good to keep these higher paying jobs in Wisconsin.

“These aren't minimum wage jobs, these are jobs that are paying really good they can support a family and that's the kind of opportunity we need in our community,” explained Duffy.

Every day chairman of CranGrow, Dr. Frederick Prehn says it sees about 150,000 pounds of dried cranberries go through its facility.

“The fruit that leaves here, in a matter of 14 days, will be in downtown Bejing,” said Prehn.

Prehn says along with supplying cranberry products to customers in over 25 counties the facility puts the growers in the marketplace in a big way.

“Now it's exciting for me as a grower to be able to bring it into my co-op and have my co-op able to freeze it, clean it, process it, and ship it and then the return comes back to me as a farmer and that's exciting,” said Prehn.