BENTONVILLE, Ark. – November 6, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that Maine-based Ricker Hill Farm will be showcased during the months of October and November in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched in September, is a year-long campaign to spotlight Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas in support of locally grown agricultural products. Throughout the next several weeks, Ricker Hill Farm will team with Wal-Mart Stores to provide home-grown apples to numerous Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in the region and provide visibility to the company’s commitment to Maine agriculture and growers around the country.
“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re proud to introduce Salute to America’s Farmers as a tribute to our country’s growers, underscoring our company-wide commitment to farmers across the United States,” said Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart Stores senior vice president, perishable food division. “We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our customers in Maine. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also generate savings on distribution costs that we can pass on to our customers.”
For eight generations, the Ricker family has been growing apples in the foothills of Maine. Established in 1803, Ricker Hill Farm grows several varieties of apples but is known for its McIntosh apples. In addition, Ricker Hill produces cranberries, pears, peaches, maple syrup and apple cider. Ricker Hill uses both conventional and organic methods in its orchards. For the public, Ricker Hill Farms offers a variety of seasonal activities, including cranberry bog tours, fishing ponds, a corn maze and petting zoo.
“Wal-Mart recognizes the value of locally grown produce and providing it to their customers,” said Harry Ricker, Ricker Hill Farm family spokesperson. “We’re thrilled that through our relationship with them, we’ve been able to bring more Ricker Hill apples to homes throughout Maine and surrounding areas.”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program in September and each month, will showcase one local grower from each of four states. Local farmers and growers in all 50 states will be spotlighted throughout the upcoming year. During each state’s showcased month, consumers can identify local produce via corresponding signage in local Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. In addition to Ricker Hill Farm, Wal-Mart suppliers Riveridge Produce in Michigan, Wada Farms in Idaho and Mountainland Orchards in Utah are being saluted in their respective regions during the upcoming weeks.
“Ricker Hill Farm is an important grower to the agricultural industry in the state of Maine,” said Mary Ellen Johnston, director of division of market & production development. “We take great pride in our local farmers like the Rickers and appreciate Wal-Mart’s continued support and commitment toward the growers and producers in our state.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. In the state of Maine in FYE 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spent $108,319,149 for merchandise and services with 329 suppliers. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 11,778 supplier jobs in the state of Maine.*
As of October 2006, Wal-Mart’s presence in Maine includes 12 Supercenters, 10 Discount Stores and 3 SAM’S CLUBS. It also has one Distribution Center for a total of 7,042 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, SAM’S Clubs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet