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Cornell University Receives $68.9 Million to Establish Grape Research Lab

Cornell University has received $68.9 million in federal funding to create a new federal grape genetics research lab.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will fund the new facility which will be located at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York.

Funding for the project was included in a recently passed minibus appropriations package, continuously pushed for by U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“The grape industry drives incredible growth in New York State, providing $4.8 billion in economic benefits and supporting thousands of good-paying jobs in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region and across Upstate New York,” Schumer said in a release.

“I’m thrilled to announce over $68 million in ARS funding to build a world-class facility from top to bottom. The grape industry plays a fundamental role in the Upstate economy, and I’ll always fight for the investment needed to keep it from going sour.

The new lab plans to strengthen the partnership between the university and the Department of Agriculture by expanding grape programs and jointly using lab space, personnel, and a germplasm repository.

“This new facility will provide much needed infrastructure for the USDA-ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit to pursue our world-class research that addresses the U.S. grape industry’s need to maintain its competitive edge,” Gan-Yuan Zhong, USDA-ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit research leader, said.

Cornell AgriTech currently has the highest concentration of grape researchers in the Northeast, including experts in disease resistance and cold tolerance, fungal and viral diseases, sustainable grape production and fruit quality, among others.

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