The National Berry Crops Initiative (NBCI) is a partnership of industry, academia and government formed to develop a strategic plan for the continued growth and sustainability of berry crop production in the United States. Berry crops include, but are not limited to: strawberry, brambles (raspberry, blackberry, others), blueberry, cranberry (including lingonberry) and Ribes (currant and gooseberry). A steering committee was assembled in Spring 2005 to draft the strategic plan that could be presented nationally to farmers, academia and state and federal agencies for their consideration, suggestions, and approval. The Board of Directors was selected in 2007.
This website has been developed to help continue the cooperation of the berry crops organizations and, as they work together, to put this strategic plan into effect to encourage the growth of the berry crops as successful, sustainable crops for farmers and as healthful, nutritious, and flavorful choices for the American diet.
In early 2005, Dr. Thomas Bewick, National Program Leader Horticulture for USDA/CSREES, began gathering berry researchers, growers, and industry leaders together to discuss the 2007 Farm Bill and how it could impact berry crops in the United States. Over the next few months a steering committee was formed and discussions concerned a plan of action and the need to set research priorities was held via multiple conference calls.
The group held its first workshop in October, 2005, and a second in January 2006. The conferencing has continued, with many organization, commodity commissions, researchers and growers joining the discussions and banding together to present a united message: to enhance the health and sustainability of the American berry crop industries.