Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More than $113 Million in USDA Funding for Consortium of Colleges Including More Than $6 Million for Cornell University

Oct 22, 2015

Ithaca, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $6,129,896 in federal funding for Cornell University. This funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to advance and support research and programs that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research and programs to help increase demand. Cornell University’s Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will receive $4,478,345 in new funding and $1,651,551 in continued funding. The project focuses on increasing precision of agriculture technology to the juice, wine, raisin, and table grape industries in the U.S.

Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will focus on research to develop and implement digital mapping technology that allows farmers and vineyard managers to identify the unique conditions within their vineyards to enhance their ability to predict crop size, yield, and quality.

“New York produces a wide range of specialty crops, from fruits and vegetables, to maple syrup and Christmas trees. All of these crops rank highly nationwide in terms of both production and economic value, and I am proud to announce that this federal USDA funding will help bolster this industry by supporting research and development at Cornell University, as well as programs that aim to increase production and distribution tools for our farmers,” said Senator Schumer. “Ensuring that agriculture is able to flourish and that the unique needs of New York are considered in federal programs has always been a top priority of mine.”

“We have cutting edge agricultural research occurring at Cornell University and this grant through the USDA allows researchers to help farmers, producers and local businesses optimize each harvest of crops,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “This critical investment recognizes the key role New York agriculture continues to play in the industry and the nation’s economy.”

“On behalf of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, I would like to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for their support of this incredibly important initiative that will bolster New York’s juice and wine grape businesses by integrating new technology with existing practices for improved production efficiency,” said Kathryn J. Boor the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This project is yet another example of the vital research and extension work initiated in New York that has nationwide impact on local food systems and regional economies.” 

In collaboration with Cornell University researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Newcastle University, and U.C. Davis will join the project.

The USDA grant program aims to strengthen local food systems and support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, nursery crops through research, agricultural extension activities, and initiatives to increase demand and address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry.