October 3, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $1.4 Million for Research, Promotion and Protection of Specialty Crops Across New York State

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1.4 million in awards to help specialty crops, including agricultural products that go into craft beers and wines, remain strong here in New York. The Specialty Crop Block Grant program, administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, includes fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, hops, and nursery crops, and works to enhance the competitiveness of New York farms by forming new partnerships to create innovations in agriculture that benefit the State’s economy.


“New York has one of the most diverse agricultural sectors in the nation, and specialty crops play a substantial role in this thriving industry’s success,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding supports in-depth research and programs that promote healthy living, as well as our state’s booming craft beer and wine industries. We continue to make great progress in advancing our agricultural economy, and these grants will help ensure that New York agriculture remains a national leader for years to come.”


Funding is being provided through the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (amended under the federal 2014 Farm Bill), which authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide state assistance for specialty crop competitiveness programs. In cooperation with an advisory committee made up of industry representatives, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets solicited proposals that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and benefit the greatest number of beneficiaries in one of three priority areas. These include research and grower education, food safety, and marketing and promotion.


“Specialty crops are an important part of the fabric of a strong agricultural sector here in New York,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “I grow specialty crops on my farm, and believe me when I say that there’s a great demand for them. This new funding will help the state’s world class researchers to combat diseases affecting specialty crops while enhancing food safety and raising awareness of the quality of New York State agriculture across the state.”


New York ranks in the top ten nationwide in a variety of specialty crops, including apples, grapes, sweet corn, tomatoes, pears, strawberries, Christmas trees, maple syrup, onions and cabbage.


Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “Quality is grown right here in New York, and this federal grant money will help the long-term competitiveness of our robust agricultural sector. While we have made progress to ensure a strong state economy, plenty of work remains to be done. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for funding that supports the growth of New York’s farming economy.”


Congressman Paul D. Tonko said, “New York agriculture is one of the pillars of economic growth statewide. Key to this industry is local support for specialty crop farmers and fostering an environment for them to thrive. That is precisely what this federal funding will do. It will promote locally grown produce in the Capital Region, benefitting farmers and consumers. I thank Governor Cuomo for his tireless advocacy and promotion of New York’s farmers and growers and look forward to their continued success.”


Congressman Tom Reed said, “This is great news for Cornell University, who utilizes specialty crops in their research and grower education. I worked hard on the 2014 Farm Bill to secure necessary funds for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, an important resource to care for the unique agricultural products in our district. This is another way for us to care for our local farmers and educational institutes.”


Congressman Chris Gibson said, “Our fruit and vegetable farms are a vital component of the Upstate economy, and they protect the rural landscape that attracts thousands of visitors to our region. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I have been a proud advocate for specialty crop initiatives in the Farm Bill. I want to thank the state Department of Agriculture and Markets for implementing marketing and research programs that make our growers more competitive.”


Congressman Richard Hanna said, “This is beneficial to our local producers as well as our students. We know that consuming locally-grown foods from farmers right here in our community is healthy, nutritious and wholesome, and it supports our neighbors who work the land to provide quality products for their neighbors to enjoy.”


Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “Delivering on a historic farm bill was one of my top priorities because it gets results for the hardworking Hudson Valley farmers who create thousands of local jobs, pump hundreds of millions into our economy, and provide healthy fresh food for our schools and families. This critical investment in research and innovation ensures our farmers continue to create new ways to grow healthy nutritious foods, enhance food safety, and grow our agricultural economy for all New Yorkers.”


A list of awardees, project descriptions and funding is below:




Project Type


Cornell University

Bacterial Rots of Onions: Etiology and Control

Research and Grower Education

$ 99,996.00

Cornell University

This project will target three important diseases affecting NY tomato production: late blight, early blight and Septoria leaf spot.

Research and Grower Education

$ 99,997.00

Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Enhancing the Competitiveness of New York's Onion Industry with an Integrated Pest Management Program for Thrips

Research and Grower Education


Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Using Under-Vine Cover Crops to Reduce Management Costs in Hybrid Winegrapes

Research and Grower Education

$ 37,358.00

Cornell University

Searching for the Oak Wilt Pathogen, Ceratocystis Fagacearum, in New York State

Research and Grower Education

$ 80,945.00

Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Biology and Economic Impact of Red Blotch Disease in NY Vineyards

Research and Grower Education

$ 99,932.00

Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Addressing Diseases That Threaten the Developing New York Hop Industry

Research and Grower Education

$ 99,350.00

Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Sour Rot: Defining and Managing a Disease Threatening the Profitability of NYS Vineyards

Research and Grower Education

$ 99,289.00

Cornell University, NYS Agricultural Experiment Station

Organic Seed Treatments for Sweet Corn for Enhanced Stand Establishment

Research and Grower Education

$ 98,479.00

New York Apple Association

New York City Appleooza

Marketing and Promotion

$ 75,000.00

Rensselaer County


Promoting Specialty Crops in the Capital Region

Marketing and Promotion

$ 92,308.00

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County


Let's Eat New York! A Farm-School-Grocery Partnership

Marketing and Promotion

$ 50,113.00

New York State Integrated Pest Management Program


Providing New York’s Organic and Transitioning Producers with the Pest Management Recommendations for Specialty Crops

Research and Grower Education

$ 47,973.00

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Expanding First Time Good Agricultural Practice Audits and Preparing Producers for Food Safety Regulations

Food Safety

$ 224,141.45

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Administration of the grant, which includes support for the technical advisory committee, contract management and reporting to USDA.











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