Michigan blueberry growers have approved a referendum to continue Michigan’s blueberry research and education program, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell announced this week.
Established in February 2017, the Michigan Blueberry Research and Education Program was developed with the goal of improving the economic position and competitiveness of the state’s blueberry industry. The goal is to keep Michigan’s blueberry industry on the cutting edge of new technologies and implement new research to keep these farmers economically viable in the global marketplace. The program emphasizes the advancement of blueberry research, information dissemination, and Michigan-wide industry collaboration. By law, the program must be renewed every five years.
Michigan’s blueberry research and education program will continue for an additional five years beginning May 1, 2022. The current assessment for the fiscal year will be set to growers at a maximum rate of three tenths of a cent per pound blueberries sold.
There were 67 qualified ballots in the referendum. Of these, 59 producers voted yes (88%) representing 46,130,052 pounds (89%) and eight producers voted no (12%) representing 5,657,053 pounds (11%).
For the renewal of the program and its activities, more than 50% of the voting producers, representing more than 50% of the books sold by the voters, must have approved it.