JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program announces an update to the Vineyard Improvement Program. The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is cooperating with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to provide leadership for a program offering matching funds to remove unwanted Concord vineyards and return the land for other agricultural uses. This program is available to owners of Concord vineyards in Chautauqua, Niagara, Erie, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins, Chemung, Tioga, Broome, Chenango and Delaware Counties.
As of late last week we are now able to award up to $3,000 per acre. It is still a matching grant that offers reimbursement of 50% of expenses to remove unwanted Concord vineyards and 25% of expenses to replant that acreage back to an agricultural commodity (perennial crops of vines or trees – the replant money does not reimburse seed cost). The change comes in the total reimbursement allowed per acre. Previously it could not exceed $1,500 per acre for both removal and replant. Now the cap is set at $3,000 per acre: $1,500 for removal plus $1,500 for replant. The total reimbursement for each project still cannot exceed $50,000 and the vineyard must be at least one acre in size.
This program is applicable to commercial or abandoned Concord vineyards in the above counties and can include live or dead vines. So if you, or someone you know, have a Concord vineyard that is in a poor site, is in disrepair, or just isn’t commercially viable, you can visit www.lergp.com and click the Vineyard Improvement Program button. This will give you more information as well as lead you to the application. The application asks general information about the owner and the vineyard, and also requires that a budget for removal and a business plan explaining how this will benefit the landowner be uploaded to justify expenses.
Upon receipt of the application a member of the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program will schedule a site visit to verify the vineyard and take some photos prior to the removal. Again after the site has been replanted to the desired agricultural crop, there will be another site visit to ensure that the land has been returned to agricultural use. Once all receipts have been submitted from the project and have been approved, one check will be written for all of the reimbursable costs.
If you have visited the website and still have questions or need assistance developing a budget for the project or a business plan, please contact the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory.
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.
–Lake Erie Regional Grape Program
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County