December 12, 2012
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $1 Million in Federal Funding to Promote and Support New York's Specialty Crops and Wine, Beer, and Spirits Industry

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1 million in federal funding to enhance the competitiveness of New York's agricultural products. The funding will support the research, development and promotion of specialty crops including fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, and includes $200,000 to help support the growth of the state's wine, beer, and spirits industry.


"As part of being an entrepreneurial government, New York is partnering with the private sector to establish our state as a leader in the production of a wide array of goods, from Greek yogurt to craft beer,” Governor Cuomo said. “With a robust, diverse agriculture sector, these awards will help our state join together with these rapidly growing industries to create new jobs and spur economic development in all corners of New York.”


At Governor Cuomo’s Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit in October, industry leaders told the Governor that more research and development is needed to continue the rapid growth of the industry here in New York. Of the $1 million in funding announced today, $200,000 will go toward this effort.


State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, "In Governor Cuomo’s Administration, agriculture has a true seat at the table. The Governor is listening to industry and putting forth sound policies to help our state’s agricultural sector succeed. This funding will help increase our state’s competitiveness and help foster the growth of agriculture right here in New York State."


In December 2004, the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide state assistance for specialty crop competitiveness programs. Competitiveness programs may include: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, and developing cooperatives.


The 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant Awardees are listed below:


  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County - $95,931 - This project will help increase the amount of NY hops being used by brewers by helping hop growers grow and process hops of the quality required by brewers.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology - $98,428 - This project will help increase the amount of disease-tested vines planted in NY vineyards.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology/Plant Microbe Biology - $100,000 - Risk assessment and management of new challenges in Phytophthora Blight for New York vegetables.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology - $98,095 - Enhance disease management by exploring and exploiting a novel suppression of powdery mildew in plants without the use of fungicides.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Agricultural Stewardship Program - $63,359 To adopt a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that addresses the pest issues specific to the tree fruit grown in Long Island’s maritime climate.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County - $57,988 - Best management practices to enhance yield, extend the growing season, protect crops from weather extremes, and manage pests and diseases.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology - $98,225 - Survey of Fire Blight in New York to improve control options for growers.
  • Cornell University, Department of Entomology - $99,694 - Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) management, including an evaluation of risk factors associated with SWD.
  • Cornell University, School of Applied Economics and Management - $96,759 - Examining current labor options and policies on specialty crop farms in New York State.
  • Cornell University, Department of Agriculture - $88,684 - Developing weed suppressive turf for organic landscape management.
  • Cornell University, Departments of Entomology & Horticulture - $55,000 - To increase the profitability and competitiveness of fresh-market vegetable farms by capitalizing on the pollination services provided by bumble bees.
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc. (NOFA-NY) - $50,522 - Intermediate and advanced organic and sustainable specialty crop grower education to increase competitiveness in the marketplace.


U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "Grapes, apples, onions, and a host of other specialty crops are a huge part of the Upstate and Hudson Valley agriculture economy, and this federal funding will increase research and development in those fields. Between the frost earlier this year, and the floods last year, New York’s farmers haven’t had an easy go, and that’s why this grant will be critical to help them grow stronger for the future. In particular, I am pleased that New York’s dynamic and delicious craft-brewing and wine-growing industry will also benefit from these education and research programs, so that our state’s food and beverage industry can continue to grow and flourish."


U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "This is another smart investment for New York. Investing in the quality and growth of our specialty crops, craft breweries and wineries will help strengthen our regional economies, helping to create jobs throughout New York."


U.S. Representative Bill Owens said, "Specialty crops play an important role in Clinton County and all throughout New York’s agriculture economy. Today’s announcement will help ensure these farms have every opportunity to succeed down the road. I applaud the Governor’s support for specialty crop producers, the good-paying jobs they represent and the broad economic impact these farms have in our communities."


U.S. Representative Chris Gibson said, "Ensuring specialty crop farmers across Upstate New York have the resources they need to remain competitive has been a priority of mine on the House Agriculture Committee. We are blessed in New York to have a diverse network of family farms and it is critical we support their efforts. I appreciate the Governor’s work in this area and look forward to continuing to partner with him to support New York agriculture."