National Blueberry Research and Promotion Program to Continue [August, 11, 2011, News Release
Blueberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order; Assessment Rate Increase. Docket Number: AMS-FV-12-0062. EFFECTIVE: January 1, 2014. [Proposed Rule
] [Final Rule
On December 2, 1998, the North American Blueberry Council submitted a proposal for a national research and promotion program covering domestic and imported highbush blueberries. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) conducted a referendum on the proposed program in 2000. Of the producers and importers of cultivated blueberries who voted in the referendum, 67 percent favored implementation of the Blueberry Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order). Supporters of the Order produced or imported 73 percent of the blueberries represented in the referendum.
As a result of the referendum, the Blueberry Order became effective on August 16, 2000, and assessment collections began on January 1, 2001. During a continuance referendum held in 2011, 88 percent of voters favored continuation of the Order. Those voters produced or imported 98 percent of the blueberries represented in the referendum. Continuance referenda are held every five years.
The Blueberry Order is authorized by the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 [7 U.S.C. 7411-7425].
The purpose of the blueberry program is to strengthen the blueberry industry’s position in the marketplace. The program is administered by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (Council), which is composed of blueberry industry representatives nominated by their peers and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The Council’s operations are funded by an assessment of $18 per ton collected on highbush blueberries produced in and imported into the United States. The assessment is paid by producers and importers of 2,000 or more pounds of blueberries per year. The producer assessment is remitted to the Council by first handlers, and Customs and Border Protection collects the import assessment.
The Council’s 2015 budget is approximately $7.3 million. That funding is used to conduct generic promotion and market development activities in the United States and abroad. The Council reimburses AMS and USDA’s Office of General Counsel for expenses incurred in the oversight of the program.
The Council is composed of 16 members, including 10 producers (one from each of four regions and one from each of the top six highbush blueberry producing states); three importers; one foreign exporter; one first handler; and one public member. Each member has an alternate. Board members are appointed to three-year terms and may be reappointed. Nominees for producer positions are selected by producers in each respective state and/or region. Nominees for the other positions are selected by the Council.
The Council is located in Folsom, California.
For R&P programs to be successful in leading and advancing American agriculture, it is essential that their board members reflect the full diversity of American agriculture.
View a short video
featuring representatives from the National Mango Board, National Dairy Board, National Pork Board, National Watermelon Board, and the Cotton Board.