The Feb. 23 notice in the Federal Register announced the withdrawal of a proposed rule from July 2009 for the blueberry order that would have increased the assessment rate on producers and importers from $12 a ton to $24 per ton.

The order is administered by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and assessment are use to fund research, development, advertising and promotion of highbush blueberries.

The council had recommended doubling the assessment to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, but the agency received a majority of comments against the rule, and based on all comments received, the increase was withdrawn.
The USDA received 19 comments opposing the increase, while one comment supported a smaller increase of $18 per ton.

The agency said those who were against the proposed increase cited poor economic conditions. Other growers said they may not be able to cover production costs with a doubled fee.

Blueberry assessment increase fails