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New laboratory set for grape genetics research in Geneva

New laboratory set for grape genetics research in Geneva

The federal Agricultural Research Services’ Grape Genetics Research Unit will be getting an updated laboratory, after receiving nearly $69 million in federal funding announced by Sen. Charles Schumer Tuesday.

The unit is located at Geneva’s Cornell AgriTech, a Cornell University agricultural research unit that also houses some federal and state initiatives.

“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,” Schumer said. The industry supports $4.8 billion of economic activity, including thousands of jobs in the Finger Lakes and elsewhere in Upstate New York, he noted.

Researchers at the lab first conducted a feasibility study for new facilities in 2003, and only last year moved to a larger location on the Cornell AgriTech campus, Schumer said. However, “the Unit still needs a dedicated facility with sufficient space to incorporate new sensor technology and the enhanced computing capacity necessary to stay at the leading edge of crop research to support grape growers Upstate and nationwide,” the Senator said.pexels-photo-357742

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack said, “It has been Cornell’s privilege to lease space to the GGRU for many years, and we are pleased that these world-class scientists will now have a world-class facility of their own. Co-location of the federal lab cements the decades-long research partnership between Cornell and USDA that has helped fuel the explosive growth of the New York wine and grape industries.”

Schumer noted there are 327 growers in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area alone, (second only to the Western New York region, with 578.) The state also has more than 400 wineries, with some 120 of those in the Finger Lakes region.

“This new federal funding will ensure that New York remains on the cutting edge for grape research and provide grape growers with viticulture practices appropriate for our climate,” said Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

The $68.9 million in funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service’s building and facilities budget.

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