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Wal-Mart's "Operation Orange Aid" Provides Assistance To California Citrus Growers

Retailer pledges support to local citrus growers facing significant crop loss

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Jan. 22, 2007 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today several commitments to help the California citrus crop crisis and other weather-related issues throughout the country.  Aptly named Operation Orange Aid, Wal-Mart pledges its support throughout the upcoming fiscal year to work with suppliers to revise previously agreed upon contracts to put them more in line with present conditions, purchase more available product and stock California-grown citrus when possible.  The company also announced a $250,000 corporate donation to the American Red Cross designated for national relief efforts surrounding the wide spread winter storm.

“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and it is imperative that we support our local growers during both the good times and the hard times,” said Ron McCormick, Wal-Mart Stores vice president of produce.  “Operation Orange Aid is designed to support quality, locally-grown offerings while also reaching out to California growers during a challenging time.”

As part of Operation Orange Aid, Wal-Mart pledges the following through the 2007 citrus season for California-grown oranges, grapefruit, lemons and other citrus:

  • To stock Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets with California-grown citrus when possible, focusing on quality and flavor;
  • To work with California citrus suppliers to help understand their losses and offer concrete help - determining what fruit is still available and revising contracts in line with their present circumstances;
  • Without compromising quality or taste, Wal-Mart will purchase more available product in various sizes, grades and assortments to allow customers to support their local growers;
  • To clearly identify California citrus in Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets to help customers make their selections.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has had a long-standing relationship with the American Red Cross and late last week announced a corporate donation of $250,000 to provide support for disaster relief assistance in response to several severe winter storms that have blasted the United States.

According to California Citrus Mutual, temperatures ranged from 20 to 27 degrees throughout the San Joaquin Valley citrus region and, although frost protection measures are in place, these measures are coming at a cost of $3.1 million per night. Since November, the growers have spent in excess of $88 million in efforts to protect their citrus crops. 

Wal-Mart’s support of local farmers extends beyond Operation Orange Aid.  In September, the company launched Salute to America’s Farmers, spotlighting a local grower each from all 50 states over a 13-month period.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America.  The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of 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 $245 million to local United States communities.  To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

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