Mar 4, 2020
MSU offers ‘Small Fruit Production Risk Management: Resources and Tools’

There is new training program developed by the Michigan State University (MSU )Extension Small Fruit program to assist the blueberry industry and all berry growers in general to deal with major production risks affecting the Michigan blueberry industry and the small fruit industry in general.

For the past five years, Michigan’s small blueberry growers have suffered extensive economic losses due to winter, summer droughts, invasive insect pests and new environmental and food safety legislations. In addition, depressed market conditions and foreign competition are making Michigan’s blueberry growers less competitive. Small and minority growers, are the most affected, as their economic livelihood is at risk. To preserve farm’s sustainability and employment growers need new technology and assistance, knowledge, skills, and, new tools to manage those production risks.

The training we developed at MSU Extension attempts to deliver the much-needed support through a curriculum-based training program. This is a 7-week (a once a week 4-hour sessions) training program delivering knowledge and assistance to deal with:

• Financial and Risk Management: acquisition/management of agricultural credit;

• Managing Production Risks associated with Climate Change: winter and summer drought,

• Management of current, new invasive insect pests and secondary pest outbreaks; Cranberry & Cherry fruitworm, spotted wing Drosophila (SWD), and Blueberry Stem Gall Wasp (BSGW),

• Environmental issues: Pollinator Protection from Pesticide exposure; Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and Food Safety (FSMA).

Our goal is to train at least 80 small fruit growers through a 7-week training program offered from March 6, 2020 to April 17, 2020.

For those growers with langue barriers, this training will be bilingual, English/Spanish, and one-on-one assistance upon request.

Training location will vary depending on the main topic discussed during that particular session.

The first session has been scheduled for March 6, 2020 at the MSU Trevor Nichols Research Center, Fennville, Michigan. Training session will be from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

There is a $30 recuperation fee for the entire 7-week training program. This registration fee covers handouts and refreshments.

We will provide a reduced number of scholarships for those unable to cover the registration fee. However, those unable to cover the $30 fee still need to register online by March 4.

Online registration is required to calculate the exact number of handouts and refreshments. 

Please, register online at:


Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Ottawa County Extension at 616-994-4580 by 3/4/2020 to make arrangements.

 A flier with the description of the program in both English and Spanish is attached. 

Carlos Garcia-Salazar, Michigan State University

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