Reed Works with USDA, Local Grape Growers to Deliver Grape Juice Purchase
Rep. Tom Reed praised the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to purchase $11.5 million dollars worth of Concord grape juice. Reed weighed in heavily with the USDA Agriculture Secretary leading up to the decision requesting that they make the bonus purchase to stabilize the Concord market after the bumper crop of 2013. Reed led a letter with fellow New York Reps. Richard Hanna, Brian Higgins and Bill Owens to Secretary Vilsack encouraging the USDA to implement the bonus buy in August 2013.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy in the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes and we need to be supporting local growers and farmers anyway we can,” Reed said. “I am very pleased to see that this funding was approved to help farmers deal with unexpected crop years and market conditions. In addition to supporting our local farmers through the program, the juice purchased by USDA will go to schools across the country for healthy lunch programs.
The Lake Erie grape region covers roughly 30,000 acres and is the oldest and largest Concord region in the world. Many vineyards throughout the Finger Lakes grow Concords as well.