Governor Cuomo Announces Over $900,000 in Federal Funds for Specialty Crops Across New York State

Including Funding to Assist New York's Wine and Grape Industry.

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Albany, NY - September 25, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $900,000 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support 11 research projects ranging from improving the resiliency of New York’s crops to expanding the reach of the State’s agricultural sector. This funding includes $154,000 to support the state’s wine and grape industry.

“Investing in research and development is crucial to growing our state’s agricultural sector and economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will allow some of New York’s top researchers to identify new ways to improve areas like crop production and resiliency, ultimately helping to increase the market competitiveness of farmers across the state. I congratulate these award recipients and look forward to their valuable contributions to New York agriculture.”


Funding is being provided through the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004, which authorizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide state assistance for specialty crop competitiveness programs. Competitiveness programs may include: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health programs, education, "buy local" programs, increased consumption, increased innovation, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation, product development, and developing cooperatives.


This funding complements the Governor’s efforts to support and grow the State’s agricultural and culinary industries through the Taste NY initiative. Taste NY is designed to showcase the State’s wide variety of world-class food, beer, wine, and spirits that are produced. New York-grown and produced items have been highlighted at special events, tourism destinations, transit hubs, and stores throughout the State.


The 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant Awardees are listed below:

  • Cornell University, Plant Breeding and Genetics Department: $99,806 – This project will aim to increase the profitability of the New York onion industry via introduction of novel mild hybrids adapted to New York State.
  • Cornell University, Horticulture Department: $99,594 – This project will help improve nursery native tree production to increase profitability.
  • American Farmland Trust, New York State Office (Saratoga Springs): $99,427 – This project will help expand market competitiveness for specialty crop producers at SUNY colleges.
  • Cornell University, Entomology Department: $94,553 – This project will ensure the viability of the New York allium crop industry (onions, leeks, garlic, and chives) by meeting the research and outreach needs for controlling leek moth.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County: $93,460 – This project will increase the sales of specialty crops in northern New York through direct connections with consumers and new wholesale markets.
  • Cornell University, Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology Department: $88,124 – This project will expand identification, sampling and testing of Phytophthora diseases, which threaten nursery crops and home landscapes.
  • Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology: $79,785 – This project will develop methods to eliminate the crown gall pathogen from grapevine propagation material to strengthen New York’s viticulture and nursery industry.
  • Cornell University, Horticulture Department: $74,331 – This project will evaluate grape and wine production practices in support of the emerging cold hardy “Northern Grapes” industry in New York.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County: $65,168 – This project will help implement an area-wide insect mating disruption participatory program in Long Island tree fruit orchards.
  • Cornell University, Entomology Department: $56,055 – This project will help develop an insect, disease and weed management program for New York organic apples.
  • Cornell University, Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology Department: $47,260 – This project will enhance potato seed production for New York State farmers by establishing a hydroponic production system.