caneberry flower

Updated February 21, 2009

Social and Cultural Environment

  • National initiatives to combat obesity and other human health problems will lead to increased demand for and consumption of fruits and vegetables by U.S. consumers.
  • The “baby-boom” generation is increasingly interested in consuming foods that are nutrient and nutraceutically dense and this interest will result in increased demand for berry crops.
  • Consumers will demand higher quality berries at lower cost.
  • Consumers will increasingly demand year-around access to berry crops, which might open U.S. markets to foreign supplies.
  • Consumers will demand that products they consume be produced in a way that does not endanger the environment.
  • Consumers will continue to demonstrate strong interest in minimizing chemical crop protectant use in food crop production
  • Trends towards healthful convenience foods and slow food/gourmet food are potential opportunities for the berry crop industries.
  • Consumers will continue to be concerned with food safety issues.

Governmental/Political Environment

  • The definition of specialty crops, as found in The Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2005, will drive federal policy regarding berry crops.
  • Based on the 2004 Census of Agriculture, which showed that Specialty Crops had a slightly greater farm gate value that grain and oilseed crops (corn, soybean, wheat, barley, etc.), there is an opportunity to gain balance for specialty crops in farm bill legislation.
  • The new USDA Food Pyramid, released in 2005, provides an opportunity to promote berry crop consumption.
  • Some segments of the berry crop industries will continue to be affected by federal immigration and guest worker policy.
  • Regulation of production and environmental issues will contribute to the further consolidation of farming.
  • Agricultural water users and urban/suburban communities will likely seek legal recourse to address water pollution concerns.
  • Agriculture will forge alliances with groups outside the industry to improve the environment.
  • Government funding to support human health and nutrition research will increase.

Economic and Business Factors

  • Foreign production of berry crops has the potential to negatively impact the berry crop industries.
  • To be sustainable, a processing industry for berry crops is needed.
  • Significant increases in sales from year to year will require strategic relationships within the berry crop industries.
  • The cost of land in urbanizing areas will force berry crop producers into growing regions with less than ideal climatic conditions.
  • Increasing labor costs will impact the industries.
  • Increasing energy costs will impact the industries.
  • Direct marketing and the development of value-added products will continue to increase in importance, especially for smaller producers and producers near urban areas.

Science and Technology

  • New technologies will continue to increase productivity.
  • For the potential increase in productivity to be realized and sustainable, Extension and technology transfer are essential.
  • Information will be delivered through the internet and other electronic formats.
  • The largest challenges facing the industry today have solutions in research and Extension.
  • New technologies will be expensive but must be cost effective.
  • Consumers will be more sensitive to environmental stewardship that reduces the use of synthetic chemicals.


  • New insects, diseases and weeds will continue to interfere with efficient berry crop production.
  • New limitations will be placed on the tools currently available for pest and nutrient management000.
  • Increased competition from foreign imports will require U.S. producers to be more efficient for the industry to remain sustainable.
  • There will be increasing competition for resources, such as land, water, energy and capital, with the non-agricultural sector.