Oct 31, 2005
Michigan Blueberry Growers Plan Dec. 7 Meeting

A meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 7 for Michigan blueberry growers to discuss forming a new organization to represent their interests. The meeting will be from noon to 2 p.m. during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO in Grand Rapids. The meeting will follow the blueberry production session in the Gallery Overlook, Room C-D (Upper Level).

That decision to meet was made Oct. 19, when 27 blueberry growers, Michigan State University staff and Extension employees and industry representatives met to discuss forming a Blueberry Advisory Committee.

Eight growers volunteered to serve as an interim committee, and Shelly Hartmann of True Blue Farms, Grand Junction, was appointed interim chairperson for the initiative. She is leading the charge to help growers find a unified voice at the state level.

The majority of growers attending agreed that they need a united voice to speak for Michigan blueberry growers, to identify critical issues and speak about needs for education, research and development.

“While they lead the nation in berry production, they lack the unified representation that other commodity groups have already established,” Hartmann said of the Michigan industry. “We need to create a support system for addressing research and development challenges, while securing national and regional funding for issues facing blueberry production.

“We see a number of critical issues like water quality control and chemical usage that have the potential to significantly impact production, and we need a forum to discuss and disseminate information to the industry.”

The newly formed committee’s first task is to develop statewide participation for state and federal recognition. Two major Michigan blueberry organizations, MBG and United, plus Extension people, offered to mail surveys and letters to prepare growers for the December meeting.

Hartmann encouraged all growers to participate, bringing their ideas and suggestions for education, research and promotional priorities.

For more information, call (269) 434-6112 or e-mail [email protected]





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