Federal government spends $4.4 mln on Maine blueberries

The federal government is spending up to $4.4 million to complete a plan to help Maine's blueberry industry by buying surplus crop. Back in April 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would buy up to $13 million in wild blueberries to help with falling prices and over-supply. The USDA has bought $8.6 million in blueberries, the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine said.

Wild blueberries are one of Maine's signature exports, and recent years of large harvests have left the industry with excess berries.

Commission executive director Nancy McBrady said the group requested the federal agency spend the rest of the money. A USDA spokeswoman confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday 27 July that the agency is working to complete the purchase.

The USDA's purchase of wild blueberries could eventually impact prices to consumers, which have been lower in recent years because of the big harvests and competition from Canada, where the dollar is weaker. Frozen wild blueberries slid from 90 cents per pound in 2011 to 60 cents per pound in 2014, the blueberry commission has said.

The USDA uses its "bonus buy" program to assist food producers and provide food for charitable organizations.

Source: onenewsnow.com

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