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First-Ever Concord Grape Summit Promotes Continued Growth
New York Ag Connection - 04/13/2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Thursday announced the first-ever New York State Concord Grape Summit to revitalize and expand the state's concord grape industry. Farmers, researchers, and industry leaders met with state officials to discuss industry growth challenges and explore new opportunities for Concord grape growers in New York. During the summit, several initiatives were announced to help strengthen the industry, including expanding research, investing in new product and new market development, and expanding marketing and promotional programs to encourage increased growth in this sector.

"Western New York's Concord grape industry exemplifies the very best of this state's diverse agriculture," Governor Cuomo said. "By expanding research and marketing opportunities for both Concord grape growers and processors, we can provide a boost to the agricultural community, grow business, and create new jobs in this region and across New York."

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul opened-up the Summit held today at the Grape Discovery Center in Chautauqua County, the heart of Concord grape growing in the Eastern United States.

"As a lifelong visitor to neighboring Chautauqua County, I know there is tremendous local pride in the fact that it is the world's largest contiguous concord grape growing region," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Concord grapes grown across the Lake Erie shoreline are an important part of the diverse agricultural landscape of New York State. The Governor and I are committed to doing everything we can to support the grape industry and agricultural products across the state. Today we heard from stakeholders including farmers, researchers, and industry leaders, and now we can move forward with solutions to address the challenges facing the Grape Belt here in Western New York."

New York is the nation's second largest Concord grape producer, and the Lake Erie Concord Belt is the oldest and largest Concord grape growing region in the world. About 30,000 acres of grape vineyards are located along the belt with the majority, more than 18,000 acres, growing in New York State. The Concord variety is used in the production of many value-added products, including grape juice, jellies and marmalades, and wine.

New York's Concord Grape industry has a significant impact on the state economy and beyond. A study conducted by the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt Heritage Association, with assistance from Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University, estimated that each year, growers in the Concord Grape Belt produce 150,000 tons or more of Concord grapes on 30,000 acres of vineyards. Dozens of value-added products are processed locally and sold across the United States and exported around the world. Overall, grape-related production activities like growing, processing and winemaking support nearly 2,000 jobs and contribute $340 million in total economic impact.

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