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Maine's drought is devastating wild blueberry crops on the Blue Hill Peninsula

Wild Blueberry Crop
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
FILE - In this July 30, 2015 file photo, a blueberry harvester makes its way through a field near Appleton, Maine.

Wild blueberry producers on the Blue Hill Peninsula of Maine say the drought is severely impacting their crops this summer. Simeon Allen of Allen's Wild Maine Blueberries said early predictions of a bumper crop have been destroyed by the lack of rain and extreme heat over the last six weeks.

"We lost 60% of our crop in the last six weeks. Everyone in the industry [is] having trouble this year. Downeast is doing better because of irrigation. But there's going to be significant loss in the industry due to this drought and this heat," Simeon said.

Simeon said his company does not irrigate and irrigation is expensive to install. The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine said it's working to increase farmers' access to sustainable irrigation solutions. The University of Maine recently submitted a congressionally directed spending request of $3 million for the school's Blueberry Hill Farm research center to install an irrigation demo to show wild blueberry producers irrigation systems that are best suited for for their operations