PORTLAND, N.Y. — The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets through the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP) has established this reimbursement grant opportunity funded by the Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program. As a result of the Concord Summit held in Westfield, New York in April of 2018, Commissioner Richard Ball introduced this program available for Concord vineyards in the Southern Tier which includes Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins, and Tioga Counties as well as Erie and Niagara counties. The goal of this program is not to remove Concord grapes from the industry, but instead to remove abandoned or poorly producing Concord vineyards and then replace them with an agricultural commodity. This can even be with a new Concord vineyard. Removing sources of pest and infection will help neighboring commercial vineyards by reducing the amount of inoculum present and reducing the inputs required to keep those vineyards “clean”.
So far there have been 11 applicants for this program, one of which has already been finalized and reimbursed. Applications have been submitted from Chautauqua, Steuben, Schuyler, and Niagara counties. The amount of Concord acreage represented on those applications amounts to almost 114 acres and of those acres, about 67 are currently committed to being replanted as grapes, with the remainder changing to peaches, apples, raspberries, and some to seed crops.
If you have, or know someone that has, a vineyard that might resemble the one pictured here, take a look at the website to see what we can do to help. Go to lergp.com and click on the Vineyard Improvement Program button in the middle of the page.
The program requires that the Concord vineyard be completely removed and then replanted to whatever the grower/landowner decides will work best in their business plan, however the land does need to be returned to agricultural use. Because it is a reimbursement grant, payment is made once all of the work has been completed and receipts submitted. As outlined on the website, the applicant can be reimbursed 50% of removal costs up to $1,500 per acre and 25% of replant costs up to $1,500 per acre for a total possible reimbursement of $3,000 per acre. Each applicant can apply only once and the reimbursement cannot exceed $50,000. Removal work should not begin before the application is submitted and the vineyard has been verified as a Concord vineyard.
The Vineyard Improvement Program began on October 15, 2018 and runs through October 15, 2022. Applications can be submitted online at www.lergp.com. We have a rolling application period. First come first served, until funds are expended. Priority will be given to abandoned vineyards close to vineyards in commercial production. Questions regarding this program can be directed to Kim Knappenberger at email@example.com.
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 https://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