Schumer pushes for grape research funds

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-New York, is urging the Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service to provide a robust investment in new equipment for the Grape Genetics Research Unit in Geneva.

Schumer said in a press statement that upgrades to the unit’s technology are necessary to ensure researchers have the state-of-the-art tools needed to respond to the research needs of a rapidly changing grape and wine industry. Specifically, Schumer said researchers at the laboratory need new sensing equipment and increased computing capacity so they are better equipped to help growers with the development of new, innovative strategies to transform the grape and wine industries and spur production across New York.

The grape industry drives incredible growth in New York, providing $4.8 billion in economic benefits and supporting thousands of good-paying jobs in the Finger Lakes region, Schumer said.

“We must not leave the Grape Genetics Research Unit on the vine,” Schumer said. “It is vital that the federal government invest in its own scientific workforce and provide them with the necessary resources to keep pace with innovative, state-of-the-art technologies.”

Grapes are an exceptional success story for New York agriculture, according to Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, whether it’s the Cayuga white for wine or the Concord for juice, jellies and other products.

But the industry needs investment help to address increasingly challenging problems in order to stay competitive, Boor said.

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