Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution cosponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), 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 lauding wild blueberries and their superior qualities, as well as paying tribute to the Native Americans that first cultivated the fruit. The resolution was also cosponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and David Perdue (R-GA).
“The wild blueberry industry has been an integral part of our state’s economy and culture for centuries,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “This resolution recognizes the blueberry industry’s many important contributions to our state, especially as Maine wild blueberry producers face tremendous strain due to the ongoing trade retaliation and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to work to ensure a bright future for wild blueberry growers across the State of Maine.”
“For the first time, this resolution explicitly includes Maine's wild blueberry industry, it's globally unique nature, and it's vibrant cultural ties to the Wabanaki. Senator Collins and Senator King were instrumental in helping Maine's iconic wild blueberry farmers and businesses get the recognition they deserved in this resolution, “ said Eric Venturini, Executive Director of the Maine Wild Blueberry Commission. “The globally unique crop that is Maine's wild blueberries, as well as the rich history that ties this plant to the Wabanaki, is now formally and explicitly recognized by this resolution. For that we are exceedingly grateful to Senator Collins, and King.”
Senators Collins and King have been longstanding advocates of the blueberry industry. Earlier this year, Senators Collins and King joined a bipartisan group of Senators in successfully urging the USDA to make blueberry farmers eligible for the $16 billion in agricultural assistance provided by the CARES Act.
Last year, the Maine delegation sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to include the wild blueberry industry in the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program, a program that provides financial aid to agricultural producers affected by China’s retaliatory tariffs.
Click HERE to read the resolution.