PORTLAND, N.Y. — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is heading into the third of five years of the Vineyard Improvement Program. This is significant because October 2020 marks the “sweet spot” of the program. There is still the maximum amount of time available for removal and replant. This program allows for 1 year to complete the Concord removal, and 2 more years to complete the replant. Many applicants haven’t needed quite that much time, but some do, often depending on what commodity is being replanted. If you have been thinking that this program could help your business but keep putting it off, now is the time to check it out. Go to lergp.com and click on the big purple Vineyard Improvement Program button. Applicants need not be grape growers, in fact many of the abandoned Concord vineyards around have probably been willed to family who has no interest in growing grapes, or the vineyards just were no longer profitable and fell into disrepair. These landowners are welcome and encouraged to apply. Proof of Concord will be required, and the land must be replanted to an agricultural commodity. Replants have included field crops, cover crops, hay fields, vegetable plots, orchards, and vineyards – even Concord vineyards.
This is a reimbursement program that will issue one check at the completion of the project. Applicants can be reimbursed 50% of their costs up to $1,500 per acre for Concord vineyard removal, and 25% of their costs up to $1,500 per acre for replant. Eligible costs include labor, equipment use, custom hire, land clearing, trellis, plant material, tiling if needed. (Seed crops are not eligible for reimbursement.)
So far there have been 22 applicants to the program, 8 of which already have their projects completed and have received their reimbursement checks. To date over $148,000 has been paid out and over 107 acres of unwanted/uncontracted Concord vineyards have been replaced with another agricultural commodity.
This program is provided by New York Ag and Markets and is funded by the Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program. It is available to the Southern Tier of New York which for this program includes the following counties: Chautauqua, Erie (NY), Niagara, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins, and Tioga.
If you have questions please contact Kim Knappenberger (firstname.lastname@example.org), Kevin Martin (email@example.com) or Jennifer Phillips Russo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is a cooperative effort between Cornell and Penn State Universities; the participating Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara and Cattaraugus Counties in New York and Erie County in Pennsylvania; and participating industry partners National Grape Cooperative (Welch’s), Constellation Brands and Walkers Fruit Basket. The LERGP extension team provides research-based educational programming for commercial grape growers throughout the year at venues across the Lake Erie grape belt. For more information on LERGP, call 716-792-2800 or visit our website at http://lergp.cce.cornell.edu/
The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County
Lake Erie Regional Grape Program