AUGUSTA — The recent USDA decision not to include wild blueberries in the MFP program which pays growers directly is highly disappointing. The USDA’s reasoning that wild blueberries are included in other assistance programs misses the important point that those other programs do not provide direct relief to growers themselves. Although the USDA points to wild blueberries’ prior inclusion in the separate Section 32 program as a reason for not including them in the MFP, other fruits such as cranberries that have benefited from the Section 32 Program are also now in the MFP.
We believe that wild blueberry growers deserve the same direct payments approved for sweet cherry, cranberry, and grape growers, and despite this disappointing decision by the USDA, we will continue to advocate for their inclusion in any future payment programs intended to offset trade disruptions caused by tariff disputes.
–Commissioner Amanda Beal
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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