The North American Blueberry Research and Extension Workers Conference is an ad hoc group of University and industry personnel that meet in a different location every four years to discuss progress in blueberry culture. The meeting began in 1960 in New Jersey at Rutgers University and was last held at the University of Maine in 1966.
The 2018 North American Blueberry Research and Extension Workers Conference took place August 12-15 at the Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine in Orono. The meeting was conducted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a welcome was provided by the president of the University of Maine and UMM, Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
This is the second time that this national conference has been held in Maine with the first held in 1966. This year more than 74 participants from 13 states and four other countries, Norway, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand attended the conference.
During the four-day conference there were 34 presentations on topics ranging from the historical and geological outlook of climate change on blueberries in Maine, to studies of management and pest control in both lowbush and highbush blueberries, to the effect of increased foreign and domestic blueberry production on U.S. blueberry industries. A wine and cheese event was also held to view 25 research poster presentations. There was a lobster bake at the University ornamental gardens at the conclusion of the talks.
The last day of the conference featured a tour of the blueberry barrens to see mechanical harvesting; a visit to Blueberry Hill research farm, which included a bee hive tour; a visit to a small organic farm; and a tour of Wyman’s of Maine wild blueberry processing facility.
The business meeting ended with representatives of British Columbia tentatively accepting to host the 2022 meeting, contingent on approval of the BC Blueberry Council.