MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin is the nation’s largest producer of mink – and it’s getting even larger, as the demand grows for high-quality furs in China.
The USDA says China’s fur processors have turned to foreign mink pelts, because China’s homegrown furs don’t have enough quality.
That’s blamed on in-breeding, the high cost of feed, and poor nutrition.
Sheboygan Falls fur rancher Bob Zimbal had 34,000 mink a decade ago. Now, he’s got 54,000 breeding females, over 25 miles of cages, and a feed plant on his site.
Meanwhile, Zimbal has sent his pelt prices jump from $25 each around 15 years ago, to $94 today.