It is blueberry season: the time of year when the berries are big, delicious, and ready to be picked. But in some regions of the US, several farmers are leaving them on the bush while others are ploughing them under.
It is an industry in trouble. As a result, farmers are afraid that their investments and their lifestyle are going down the drain.
Benjamin Futch is eternally grateful for anyone who comes to his farm to pick berries. He says it’s getting harder and harder to make money picking and selling his berries to packing houses, who then sell to stores. It wasn’t always this way; about 10 years ago, when Futch’s family jumped into blueberries, there was money to be made. “You could make a good income from something much smaller than this,” Futch said. “Three or four acres could prove a decent income for a small family of four or even five.”
He says this year, blueberry farmers are struggling to just to break even. The problem, according to Futch is foreign imports. A few years ago, Mexico began planting thousands and thousands of acres of berries. They flooded the market with good quality berries selling for less one-third less than Florida-grown berries.
According to fox13news.com, it compounded the ongoing problem: Berries from Chile, Peru and elsewhere were pushing US growers out. Some farmers hope Washington steps in and imposes tariffs like the ones on steel and other products. Futch and a lot of other blueberry farmers are saying: “Mr President, add us to that list.”
Source: Fresh Plaza