Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) designating the month of July as “National Blueberry Month.” The resolution recognizes the importance of blueberries to the United States’ agricultural economy and highlights the crop’s history. Senators Collins and King ensured that the resolution included language paying tribute to the native Wabanaki.
“The wild blueberry holds a special place in our state’s agricultural history, dating back many centuries to Maine's Native Americans, who first cultivated the crop,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “Wild blueberries are an economic powerhouse for Maine’s economy, family businesses, and rural communities – not to mention a delicious treat and baking staple for people worldwide. Our bipartisan resolution recognizes the blueberry industry’s many important contributions to our state. We will continue to work to ensure a bright future for wild blueberry farmers who grow their nutritious product across Maine.”
Senators Collins and King have long advocated for the Maine blueberry industry and its workers. Amid the pandemic, they joined a bipartisan group of Senators in successfully urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make blueberry growers eligible for the $16 billion in agricultural assistance provided by the CARES Act.
Additionally, in 2020, the Maine delegation urged the U.S. Trade Representative to strengthen trade protections for Maine’s wild blueberry producers and frozen blueberry processors. In 2019, the Maine delegation sent a letter urging the USDA to include the wild blueberry industry in the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program, which provides financial aid to agricultural producers affected by China’s retaliatory tariffs.
In addition to Senators Collins and King, the resolution was co-sponsored by Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Gary Peters (D-MI).