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USDA disaster relief for NY grape growers

USDA disaster relief for NY grape growers

By Blake Jackson

U.S. Representative Nick Langworthy announced significant relief for grape growers in New York's Lake Erie Grape Belt following a devastating freeze on April 25. Langworthy spearheaded efforts to secure disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after advocating for New York State's disaster declaration approval from Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"Since the freeze on April 25th, I've been working closely with local grape growers and the USDA to ensure they receive the necessary support," stated Congressman Langworthy. "This disaster relief is crucial in assisting our grape growers to recover and continue their vital contributions to our local economy, especially within the Concord grape industry. These circumstances have also prompted my introduction of the GRAPE ACT, aimed at providing comprehensive, affordable crop insurance for grape growers to enhance resilience."

Dr. Terry Bates of Cornell Cooperative Extension highlighted severe damage particularly on the eastern side of Chautauqua County along Lake Erie.

The estimated crop loss varies significantly, ranging from 15-20% near Ripley at the state border, to 50-75% in Westfield, and up to 80-100% near Silver Creek. In contrast, the grape crop near Northeast, Pa. was minimally affected, with estimates of 0-5% damage from the freeze.

The primary shoots of the grapevines suffered the most damage, with secondary shoots also showing significant harm. Bates noted, "The secondary shoots and clusters appear to be heavily damaged as well."

Under the USDA's Secretarial disaster designation, farm operators in primary and contiguous counties are eligible for consideration for FSA emergency loans, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

Eligible farmers have up to eight months from the Secretarial disaster declaration date to apply for emergency loans. Each application is evaluated individually, considering farm production losses and the operator's financial capacity to repay.

This relief effort underscores the USDA's commitment to supporting agricultural resilience and recovery in the face of unforeseen natural disasters affecting local communities across New York State.

Photo Credit: usda

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Categories: New York, Crops, Fruits and Vegetables, Government & Policy

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