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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2011

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES NEARLY $4.6 MILLION IN USDA FOOD AND AGRICULTURE GRANT FOR CORNELL UNIVERSITY; INVESTMENT WILL SUPPORT RESEARCH INTO FINGER LAKES’ WINE INDUSTRY IN GENEVA


USDA $4.6 Million Investment Will Allow Cornell University to Research New Cold Climate Grapes, Marketing and Communications for Wine Industry

Schumer: Grape Farmers Are Backbone of Region’s Agriculture Community

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that Cornell University will receive $4,602,690 in federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), as part of its Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) program. Specifically, $2,511,333 will support a project to address the production and marketing constraints hindering the profitability and sustainability of emerging cold climate grape and wine industries in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. An additional $2,091,357 will be used towards a project to accelerate grape cultivar improvement by developing improved genetic technologies; the project will also work to improve communication between the science and grape industry communities. Schumer applauds the USDA in their allocation of this funding for Cornell University.

“Grape farmers are the backbone of the Rochester Finger Lakes’ proud agricultural community,” said Schumer. “This investment is great news for both farmers and researchers at Cornell University alike. These projects will research new cold climate grapes, as well as marketing and communications techniques for the region’s wine industry, and I will continue to fight for funding that keeps Cornell at the forefront of agricultural research.”

For more than 125 years, Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva has developed cutting-edge technologies essential to feeding the world and strengthening New York economies. From developing safe and nutritious foods to pioneering means to preserve the environment, NYSAES has been addressing the concerns and serving millions of New York consumers, agricultural producers, food businesses and farm families throughout the state.

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Agriculture (NIFA) supports the specialty crop industry by developing and disseminating science-based tools to address the needs of specific crops. Specialty crops are defined in law as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.” Funded projects address five focus areas: 1) improve crop characteristics through plant breeding, genetics and genomics; 2) address threats from pests and diseases; 3) improve production efficiency, productivity and profitability; 4) develop new innovations and technologies and 5) develop methods to improve food safety.

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