Agricultural Commissioner disappointed as blueberry growers are snubbed

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine's Agriculture Commissioner is quote "highly disappointed" the federal government won't include the state's blueberry growers in a program designed to provide payments to farmers hurt by trade disruption.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to include wild blueberries in its Market Facilitation Program.

That program is set to provide aid to growers hurt by foreign trade retaliation. The U.S. is currently embroiled in trade hostility with China.

All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation wrote a letter to the USDA in a bid to get blueberries on the list.

The USDA said Maine’s blueberry industry is helped by other assistance programs.

But Beal says those programs don't provide direct help to farmers.