One of the many pleasures that summer brings with it is the taste of blueberries. They are light, refreshing, and also filled with healthy antioxidants. However, Americans might see less of these crops on the market from now on. This might happen because of a price depression that impacted blueberry farmers in Maine directly.
Blueberry Farmers Are Less Willing to Put in Strenuous Efforts
Maine is a picturesque state located in the northernmost state in New England area. Citizens here hold dear to their traditions where lobsters, lighthouses, and blueberries play a central role. However, farmers are feeling more and more the pressure of some struggling financial times.
Whereas in 2011 the prices for farmers hit a dollar a pound, last year the values dropped to 30 cents a pound. According to state officials, there has been preserved a steady number of farmers. On the other hand, their efforts were less intense than in other times.
A horticulture professor at the University of Maine, David Yarborough, perceived indirect signs of decline in this area. For instance, farmers have to bring bees from afar partly because of a population decrease in order for their crops to pollinate. This strategy regards blueberries as well. However, the presence of beehives in this state declined by 20% in a span of just one year from 2015.
The cause of the Price Depression Was 2016 Crop Surplus
The Government has already taken some measures to face the losses imposed by a tough summer. Republican Paul LePage drafted a proposal for $2.5 million funds in state money to market products such as blueberries. They believe that some new buyers are going to address the issue. At the moment, blueberry farmers in Washington and Hancock are recording $70 million losses per year.
The main cause of the price depression was actually a rich 2016 crop production. Despite the drought that plundered other fields, blueberries fell into surplus. To mitigate this situation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to alleviate the surplus with $13 million worth of purchases. Unfortunately, the market still battles with excessive supplies.
Image source: 1