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Wild blueberry sustainability report


April 5, 2013
By Dan Woolley

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Acommitte was established in 2012 by the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia (WBPANS) to investigate the prices growers receive for their berries will continue its probing.

“We can’t change prices … but we can work to inform how prices are set,” says Jeff Orr, chairman of the WBPANS Industry and Sustainability Committee.

His committee also commissioned a cost of production study, which was reviewed over the winter and will be presented at    regional grower workshops in 2013.

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Orr says the sustainability committee is also working on best management practices (BMPs) for WBPANS members to help sustain the industry. They are expected to cover whole-farm management, occupational health and safety, on-farm food safety, fuel and herbicide storage plus safe handling, pest management application, record keeping, herbicide use, pest identification, pruning, mowing and liquid fertilizers.

“Best management practices will be an ongoing part of our work,” he says.

The committee will continue to work with the Nova Scotia government on a risk management program for wild blueberry growers, says Orr. The committee was unsuccessful in its lobby of the Crop and Livestock Commission for a crop insurance premium cut.

The committee has already done some work on wildlife damage to blueberry crops and fields.

“We will continue to work on this … to move ahead in a practical way to reduce wildlife damage,” Orr says.