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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Contract use widespread in wine grape industry

  • Author(s): Goodhue, Rachael E.
  • Heien, Dale M.
  • Lee, Hyunok
  • Sumner, Daniel A.
  • et al.

The use of agricultural contracts between farmers and processors or other buyers has increased substantially in recent years. Roughly half of all U.S. fruit and vegetable production is under contract. Contract usage varies widely across agricultural products. For example, 95% of poultry is raised under contract while only 13% of corn is. The wine grape industry utilizes contracts, yet little is known about the extent of contract use, or the use of specific terms and objectives. We used a survey to analyze contract use among wine grape producers, determine which users are utilizing contracts, and identify how they differ from nonusers. Ninety percent of the growers who responded to the survey have contracts, the majority of which were multiyear, averaging 3.7 years. Growers with more experience, larger vineyards, more expensive grapes and longer relationships with the buyer were more likely to enter into contracts.

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