Local vineyards prepare for damaged crops

By Conor Mooney
By Michelle Costanza

Local vineyards prepare for damaged crops

February 18, 2014 Updated Feb 18, 2014 at 12:53 AM EDT

Hammondsport, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Senator Charles Schumer stopped by the Hammondsport Winery on Monday, where he called for a rapid turnaround for the US Department of Agriculture.

Schumer said vineyards are anticipating the worst winter since 2004, because of the damage created earlier in the season from the extreme cold. Experts said that the conditions likely damaged close to half of the grape buds in Upstate New York.

Though vineyards won't know the full extent of the damage until spring, the USDA will need to be prepared to address the problem with grant money.

"I'd like money to flow so that a farmer would have it to buy juice or to do the rehab that they need and do it quickly," said Schumer.

The emergency money would come as loans through a crop disaster declaration, of which Schumer is urging the Tree Assistance Program to be ready to approve.

Cold damage from the winter of 2004 impacted crops for years, which gives researchers at Cornell reason to worry about this batch, and it's impact on local vineyards' business.