SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE U.S. DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE HAS AGREED TO PURCHASE $9.6 MILLION IN SURPLUS CONCORD GRAPE JUICE TO STABILIZE PRICES FOR GRAPE GROWERS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
$9.6 Million “Bonus Buy” Will Help Stabilize Prices Farmers Receive for their Grapes After a Large 2014 Crop, Bolster Rural Economies Across New York – Western New York, Finger Lakes & CNY Are Home to Concord Grape Growers and Juice Coops
USDA Funding Will Be Used to Purchase Juice for Domestic Food Assistance Programs
Schumer, Gillibrand: USDA Surplus Purchase a Win-Win for Upstate New York Growers and Nutrition Assistance Programs
Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use up to $9.6 million in Section 32 funds to purchase concord grape juice for use in domestic nutrition programs. The grape industry currently has a surplus of Concord grapes thanks to a large 2014 crop. The Senators had written the USDA to help purchase some of this surplus product to ensure that prices remain stable for the industry. New York has 281 growers and over 9,700 acres of Concord vineyards. Today, Schumer and Gillibrand are announcing a $9.6 million nationwide purchase of Concord grape juice, which will be great news for growers in the Finger Lakes, Western New York, and Central New York and will be used to supplement the USDA’s supply for nutrition programs, such as the school lunch program.
“The USDA’s decision to purchase surplus Concord grapes is a major victory for New York growers and individuals around the state receiving nutrition assistance,” said Senator Schumer. “More juice sales mean more profit for our growers in Western New York, Central New York and the Finger Lakes. Today’s announcement is good news for every grape-grower in New York.”
“New York’s vineyards produce some of the finest grapes, and this purchase is a big boost for the hard-working farm families who grow them,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This announcement shows that we can strengthen our agriculture economy and provide nutritious fresh fruit juice to children and families across the country.”
Section 32 funds are used by USDA to purchase agriculture products which are in turn used for nutrition programs such as the school lunch program. These bonus buys by USDA have been effective in the past to stabilize agriculture markets while increasing the supply of nutritious foods available for domestic food assistance programs. Purchases of Concord grapes have helped stabilize their market in the past and this new bonus buy will benefit grape producers in New York, Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, and Indiana.
Schumer and Gillibrand also successfully petitioned USDA to conduct a similar “bonus buy” in September, where USDA committed to purchase $25 million worth of concord grapes for domestic nutrition programs and in January, where USDA committed to purchase $11.5 million worth.
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