Wild Blueberry Newsletter, January 2016

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

January 2016

Official NASS 2015 Blueberry Crop Figures Delayed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will not publish the Non-citrus Fruits and Nuts Preliminary 2015 Summary scheduled for January 21, 2016, until July 6, 2016.  This report will contain the final estimates of acreage, yield, production, use, price, and value of the 2015 Non-citrus Fruits and Nuts by state.

  • Read more on the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service website.

The unofficial estimates for the North American crop are cultivated blueberries at 723 million pounds, wild Canadian crop at 221 million pounds and Maine wild production at 100 million plus pounds for a total of 1.044 billion pounds.

North American North Blueberry Pie Chart for 2015

2016 Wild Blueberry Spring Meetings

Wild Blueberry Spring Meetings will be held on the following dates and times:

  • Waldoboro: Tuesday, March 22, 2016, from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Ellsworth: Thursday, March 24, 2016, from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Machias: Saturday, March 26, 2016, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Program details will be provided in the February edition of the Wild Blueberry Newsletter.

Wild Blueberry Industry Featured in Maine Magazine

Maine magazine, in their January 2016 issue, featured the Maine wild blueberry industry in their article The Wild Blueberry Yonder by Philip Conkling with photography by Fred Field. You can read the article, The Wild Blueberry Yonder on the Maine magazine website.

USDA Wildlife Services Available

The USDA wildlife service’s (USDAWS) vision is to improve the coexistence of people and wildlife.  Their mission is to provide Federal leadership in managing problems caused by wildlife. Wildlife damage management services result in the protection of agriculture, wildlife and other natural resources, property, and human health and safety.  They have a broad and diverse program, but assisting farmers is one of their major priorities, along with valuing and investing in people.

The wildlife service provides farmers with technical assistance, at no cost, for the various challenges they may face when encountering wildlife damage on their farms, along with information on the specific wildlife they are dealing with and techniques and approaches on how to alleviate the damage.  They also lend out various items to the public that can be used to help deter wildlife damage to farms.  Growers find this assistance beneficial enabling them to can see if a technique will be successful before investing money to purchase the item.

They also have a 5-year rent to own electric fencing program (for protecting rented pollinators).  Growers can get all the supplies for setting up an electric fence through them and pay a yearly rental fee.  After five years, they can keep the fence.  If they decide that it isn’t going to work for them, they can return the fence at any time.  This saves the grower from making a significant investment before he or she knows if the fencing will work for them. Most growers are pleased with the fence and keep it and are also able to purchase fencing supplies at a reduced rate.

USDAWS can also conduct direct control operations for growers.  In this situation, growers can pay the wildlife service to come to their property and manage the problem for them.  This program does receive some Federal funding, but the majority of the funds in Maine come from our cooperative service agreements so wildlife services must charge for the direct control work that they perform.

A biologist would also be more than happy to come and give a presentation to you, the people in your program as well as the people that you serve (whether at an office or a farm setting).  They can provide information on their agency and on the management of wildlife damage that you may be experiencing.

For more information please contact, Benjamin Nugent, Wildlife Biologist, USDA Wildlife Services, 79 Leighton Road, Suite 12, Augusta, Maine 04330, 207.629.5181 (office) 207.215.9070 (cell) or on the web at USDA Wildlife Services.



David E. Yarborough
Extension Blueberry Specialist

Wild blueberry fact sheets, past newsletters, contacts, resource links, calendar of events, and more can be found on the Cooperative Extension’s Maine Wild Blueberries website.

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2016

Call 800.287.0274 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

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