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USHBC Research Activities


Activities   Request for Proposals   Research Excerpts  Research Forum


The USHBC is a national promotion and research organization supported by production assessments from both domestic and imported highbush blueberries with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The scope of funded projects include highbush blueberry research on the following:


bullet Health benefits
bullet Food safety
bullet New product development and product improvement
bullet Horticultural research.


Request For Proposals:

  • Blueberry Crop Production Survey (10/08/2004)  USHBC solicits proposals from researchers to quantify acreage and production of highbush blueberries. 

    • Announcement  (html)  (pdf)

    • Guide to submission of blueberry research proposals. (html) (pdf)

    • Memorandum of agreement (html) (pdf)


  • Blueberry Research RFP. 


    Memo (pdf)    USHBC Background  (pdf)   Guide to Submissions    (pdf)    Agreement  (pdf)

    Memo  (download in pdf)

    (11/1/04) You are invited to submit a proposal on highbush blueberry research for consideration by the United States Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC). Enclosed are guidelines for you, or others at your facility, to submit proposals for our upcoming funding year. The USHBC is a national promotion and research organization supported by production assessments from both domestic and imported highbush blueberries with oversight by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The scope of funded projects include highbush blueberry research on the following:

             Health Benefits

             Food Safety

    Though health attributes of blueberries are of primary interest, proposals in the food safety area will be considered.  Proposals must address pertinent issues relevant to all highbush blueberry growers in all regions of the United States. Projects that increase the marketability of blueberries or improve the competitive position of growers are encouraged.  Proposals that leverage costs by cooperation with other funding sources are of interest.

    Proposals for all health related research are encouraged.  For this funding cycle, proposals related to vision research are of particular interest. Successful applicants may be requested to present their findings at the annual USHBC meeting held each year in late February or early March.

    The timeline for the application process follows:

    • Request for proposals:                                                   November 1
    • Proposal submission deadline:                                       January 10
    • Progress Report Due Date For Current Projects               January 10
    • Funding notification:                                                       April 1

    Proposals will be screened by a scientific peer review committee, and then reviewed by the USHBC Research Committee. The Committee meets during the last week of February for final review and recommendation to the Council. Successful applicants will then be required to submit the proposal in the USDA format and sign a USDA Memorandum of Agreement prior to funding.  For reference, a draft copy of the Memorandum of Agreement is included with the enclosed Guide to Submission of Research Proposals or can be downloaded from the USHBC website at www.blueberry.org.

    The Council does not currently have minimum or maximum funding levels for proposals.  Typically, the Council funds several projects each year. For proposals that address urgent needs or exceptional opportunities, additional funding may be available.  Proposals will be considered for a single year of funding; however in some cases, multiple-year projects will be funded.  Please note that blueberry fruit may be made available to researchers in order to facilitate and/or standardize research efforts.

    Technical questions concerning research and this request for proposals should be directed to USHBC Research Committee Member Amy Howell at ahowell@aesop.rutgers.edu.

    It is preferred that proposals be submitted electronically to:


    Subject:  Research Proposals

    CD’s, disks or hard copies of the proposal may be mailed to:

     USHBC Research Committee

    2390 East Bidwell Street, Suite #300
    Folsom, California 95630


Updated October 2004

History     Background     Structure      Scope     Priority  Timeline 


  • The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) is a national research and promotion program for the highbush (cultivated) blueberry industry.  It was established by a vote of the industry and is formally titled the “Blueberry Promotion, Research and Information Order (7CFR 1218)”.  A final rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture established the USHBC in August of 2000.
  • The USHBC is led by industry elected Council members with USDA oversight.  Under this program, all domestic highbush blueberry growers producing 2,000 pounds or more of blueberries per year are assessed.  The U.S. Customs Service also collects this same assessment on all highbush blueberries entering the United States.
  • Assessment funds are used by the USHBC to increase blueberry demand through market promotion activity (consumer/foodservice publicity campaigns, magazine advertising, food manufacturer publicity, export market development) as well as to support continued blueberry research, with particular interest in blueberry health related research. 


  • Highbush (cultivated) blueberries are grown in over 35 states and British Columbia
  • Domestic highbush blueberries are harvested from April to October
  • There are approximately 2,000 highbush blueberry growers located throughout the U.S.
  • An estimated 270 million pounds of highbush blueberries were produced in the United States and Canada (British Columbia) in 2004 (158 million pounds harvested as fresh blueberries and 112 million pounds harvested as process/frozen blueberries).
  • Blueberry consumption in the U.S.  is estimated at 17.1 ounces per person in 2003/2004

(6.2 ounces fresh and 10.9 ounces frozen)


  • USHBC functions through a 13 member Council with USDA oversight.  The Council is made up of:

One elected Regional Grower Member from each of 4 regions

One elected Grower Member from each of the top 5 production states

(Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, North Carolina and Georgia)

One Council elected Importer

One Council elected Exporter

One Council elected Handler

One Council elected Public Member


  • USHBC supports highbush blueberry research in the following areas:

Health Benefits

Food Safety


  • Priority is given to research that most matches consumer needs and desires and has the greatest opportunity to influence consumption.
  • Research that will add to the current portfolio of blueberry benefits and assist in helping to verify health claims is encouraged. Research must provide realistic, useful and practical results.
  • A conservative approach to research efforts is favored.
  • Though at the present time health related research is of considerable interest, particularly in the area of vision, food safety research could also be pursued when determined to be vital to maintain or build markets.
  • Research proposals must address pertinent issues relevant to all highbush blueberry growers in all regions of the United States.
  • Projects that increase the marketability of blueberries, or improve the competitive position of growers, are encouraged.
  • Proposals that leverage costs through cooperation with other funding sources are of interest.


(Beginning November 2004)

  • November 1      Requests for Proposals Issued by USHBC Research Committee
  • January 10        Proposal Submission Date
  • January 15        Progress Report Due Date for Currently Funded Projects
  • February 4         Initial Review by USHBC Research Committee Complete

                                    Projects of Interest Sent to Screening Committee

  • February 18       Response from Screening Committee
  • February 25       Meeting of USHBC Research Committee, Final Selection of Projects
  • April 1               Funding Notification


    Guide to Submission of 2005 Research Proposals   (download in pdf)

    This format is recommended for proposals submitted to the USHBC.  Proposals that do not adequately address these points may not be considered for funding:


    1. Title Page:  Include name of researcher(s), affiliation(s), address, email, phone and fax numbers.
    2. Rationale:  Beginning on a separate page, the rationale for conducting the proposed research should be stated clearly.  Relevant literature should be cited.
    3. Objectives:  Objectives should be stated in a logical sequence.
    4. Procedure:  Sufficient details of procedures should be given to allow the committee to evaluate the proposal.  All proposals should contain a description of the experimental design including the number of replications and proposed method of data analysis.
    5. Timetable:  A timetable should be included which details the project completion date and anticipated submission of the final report.  If funding is for multiple years, the researcher should provide a brief written progress update by September 15 and a full written progress report by January 15 of each year.
    6. Budget:  The budget should contain a list of expenditures detailed as to material, labor, supplies and maintenance, equipment, overhead and other miscellaneous costs.  The committee looks favorably upon projects considered worthy by other institutions. Please include in a separate line-item cost a one-time presentation to the USHBC during the spring meeting at a location to be determined.  Overhead costs for USHBC projects are limited to the USDA standard of 11%.
    7. References Cited
    8. Memorandum of Agreement:  Each proposal must contain the signatures of the chairman of the department, the dean of the college, or the head of the division.  If the proposal is accepted, the researcher (Contractor) will be required to submit a Memorandum of Agreement to the USHBC.  This agreement details specific requirements that must be met in order for the USHBC to approve any project.  An example of a draft of the required Memorandum of Agreement is attached to these guidelines for Contractor reference in preparing the final agreement.  Recipients of multiple year funding agree to provide the USHBC with annual progress reports.
    9. Personnel:  Personnel other than the principal investigator(s) should be listed, along with their responsibilities relating to the project. 
    10. Vitae:  A brief vitae of the principal investigator(s) would be useful to the committee.  Please include previous published projects that are most relevant to the current proposal.

    Final Reports:  Acceptance of funding commits the principal investigator(s) to submitting a final report to the committee for distribution to the members of the USHBC.  This report should contain a brief introduction, a description of experimental design, a summary of results and any conclusions. 

    Continuation of Funding:  Research projects originally designated for one year may receive additional funding contingent on available funds and sufficient progress toward research goals as outlined in the original proposal.  A budget for the additional year of funding should be included, as well as how an additional year will further add to the results.

    Annual Report:  An annual report should be submitted by January 15th.  An annual report must be submitted in order for a proposal to be considered for continued funding. 

    Notification of Funding:  The researcher(s) will be notified within 45 days of the USHBC Spring Meeting as to the committee’s decision. 

    It is preferred that all proposals be submitted electronically to:


    Subject:  Production Research

    CD’s, disks, or hard copies may be mailed to:

    USHBC Research Committee

    2390 East Bidwell Street, Suite #300

    Folsom, California 95630

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT     (download form in pdf)



This AGREEMENT is entered into by and between the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), hereinafter referred to as the “Council”, and (insert name of researcher or organization conducting the project), hereinafter referred to as the “Contractor”.

 WHEREAS, the project entered into by means of this Agreement is of mutual interest and benefit to the Council and to the Contractor

 NOW, THEREFORE, the parties hereto agree as follows:


  1. STATEMENT OF WORK.  The Contractor agrees to use its best efforts to perform the project described in Appendix A hereof. (Contractor is to attach as an appendix page to this agreement a complete project proposal which includes, but is not limited to, complete details concerning principal investigators, co-investigators/collaborators; project start and completion dates; objective of the project; justification; project hypothesis, description and research design; schedule of progress reports; budget and payment schedule). Contractor will make brief progress reports of the project periodically to Council and a final report will be rendered on completion of the project.


  1. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR(List names of researchers involved in this study)  The Contractor will primarily rely on in-house staff to undertake project assignments. However, the Contractor retains the right to subcontract specific tasks to outside parties.  Should the Contractor elect to subcontract specific tasks, subcontractors will be subject to the same contractual terms as the Contractor in regard to reporting and record keeping, travel expenses, title of property, confidential information, influencing legislation and/or influencing governmental policy or action, and following Federal Civil Rights policies.  The Contractor will be fully responsible for the quality of all work products.


  1. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE.  Work will commence from the date of contract signature and upon written contract approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) until the project completion. Work undertaken prior to contract approval by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is at the own risk of the Contractor, as the Council is not financially liable if AMS does not approve the contract. The project will be conducted during the period of (insert specific dates for initiation and completion of the project).


  1. PROJECT COSTS AND PAYMENTS.  Council will pay Contractor the initial sum of $(insert dollar amount) upon final agreement approval and signature for costs to be incurred to initiate the project, and $(insert dollar amount) upon successful completion of the project as detailed in the Budget section of Appendix A.  No expenses paid by the Council to the Contractor shall be used in any manner for the purpose of the influencing of legislation and/or the influencing of governmental policy or action.


  1. TAX EXEMPT STATUS.  The Contractor must inform vendors/subcontractors of the Council’s tax-exempt status and all vendors and subcontractors are subject to the same terms and conditions as the Contractor.


  1. FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS POLICIES. The Contractor agrees that during the performance of this Agreement, it shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status. The Contractor agrees that it will fully comply with any and all applicable Federal, State, and local equal employment opportunity statues, ordinances, and regulations, including, but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  Nothing in this section shall require the Contractor to comply with or become liable under any law, ordinance, regulation, or rule that does not otherwise apply to the Contractor.


  1. PROPERTY. The Council will have sole ownership of all materials purchased for this project. All non-proprietary information collected as part of the project will be the property of the Council. (Note: This does not apply for contracts with USDA Agricultural Research Service and may not apply to contracts with University researchers.)


  1. COPYRIGHT/TRADEMARKS. The Council reserves the right to copyright or trademark any or all materials developed under this agreement. (Note:  This does not apply for contacts with USDA Agricultural Research Service and may not apply to contacts with University researchers.)   


  1. PUBLICATIONS/DELIVERABLES.  The Principal Investigator may publish results from this project; however, USDA AMS must review all publications/deliverables prior to publication or use.  Under no circumstances can a contract agency release any materials, data, information or other deliverables to anyone other than the Council without USDA AMS review and approval. 


  1. BOOKS AND RECORDS. The Contractor must (a) maintain accurate records, books, and documents involving transactions relating to the agreement and (b) retain the records, books, and documents for three (3) years.  Records, books and documents may be subject to inspection and audit by a representative of the Secretary of Agriculture.


  1. INDEMNIFICATION.  (a) The Contractor agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Council and the Secretary and their affiliates, members, officers, directors, agents, and employees against all losses, damages, liabilities, cost or expenses, including reasonable attorneys fees (collectively, losses), resulting from all claims, proceedings, investigations, or actions (collectively, claims) arising out of or in connection with the contract and the services rendered by the Contractor.  This indemnification obligation shall survive the expiration or termination of this contact. (b) The Council agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Contractor against all losses resulting from claims arising out of or in connection with Council-supplied products or materials, or representations concerning the Council, or its services or products, to the extent furnished or prepared by or at the Council’s request for use by the Contractor, including, without limitations, infringement upon intellectual property of other proprietary rights.  This indemnification obligation shall survive the expiration or termination of this contract.


  1. TERMINATION. The Council and the USDA reserve the right, at their own discretion and for any reason deemed by them to be sufficient, to cancel or modify the project after the date of contract signature.  In such event, it is agreed that the Council is liable for all commitments made prior to cancellation or modification and shall reimburse the Contractor for all reasonable amounts due or owing in accordance with this contract at the time of said termination.

 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused these presents to be executed.

 U.S. HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY COUNCIL                   (Name Of Contracting Organization)



___________________________________                       _______________________________

USHBC Executive Director                                            (Authorized Signature)


___________________________________                       _______________________________     

USHBC            Chairman                                                          (Printed Name/Title)


Date: ____________________                                        Date:____________________





Action Date/Deadline
Request for proposals  Will be posted November 2004
Proposal submission and progress reports.  
Funding notification.


Blueberry Research Excerpts provides an annotated bibliography 

related to Highbush blueberries such as: antioxidants and 

blueberries, blueberries and aging, blueberries and phytoestrogens, 

blueberries and storage, composition of blueberries, five-a-day the 

blueberry way, blueberries and the urinary tract, blueberries and 

cancer inhibition. 

Recent Research Excerpts, July 2003

Blueberry Research Excerpts, Spring 2004


Copyright 2002 - U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council