Maine's congressional delegation says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved up to $10 million to purchase surplus Maine blueberries.
Wild blueberries are one of the most important crops in Maine, but the industry's struggling with a steep decline in prices to farmers. The congressional delegation said Thursday that the USDA's purchase will hopefully help farmers by stabilizing prices.
The USDA says growers received 27 cents per pound for the blueberries last year, down 19 cents from 2015 and 33 cents from 2014. The USDA's purchase is the second of its kind in as many years. It allotted up to $13 million to buy surplus blueberries last year.
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The congressional delegation requested the USDA purchase berries earlier this year. The fruit will be distributed to charitable groups like food banks.