Jamestown Gazette

One More Year Left for the Vineyard Improvement Program

Abandoned concord vineyard. Reimbursement for Concord Vineyard Removal.

Reimbursement for Concord Vineyard Removal

Article Contributed by
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Lake Erie Regional Grape Program wants to ensure that all who need this program are aware that it is still here for only one more year.

Over the past few years there have been many applicants that have waited until harvest was completed and then decided that one vineyard just wasn’t worth the effort any longer. Concord vineyards of at least 1 acre in size, dead or alive, in the counties listed below are eligible for this reimbursement program. If you have been thinking that this program could help your business but keep putting it off, now is the time to check it out. Go to lergp.com and click on the big purple Vineyard Improvement Program button.

Applicants need not be grape growers, in fact many of the abandoned Concord vineyards around may have been willed to family who are not in the business of growing grapes, or the vineyards just were no longer profitable and fell into disrepair. These landowners are welcomed and encouraged to apply. Proof of Concord will be required, and the land must be replanted as an agricultural commodity. Replants with this program have included field crops, cover crops, hay fields, vegetable plots, orchards, and vineyards – even Concord vineyards.

This is a reimbursement program that will issue one check at the completion of the project. Applicants can be reimbursed 50% of their costs up to $1,500 per acre for Concord vineyard removal, and 25% of their costs up to $1,500 per acre for replant. Eligible costs include labor, equipment use, custom hire, land clearing, trellis, plant material, and tiling if needed. (Seed crops are not eligible for reimbursement.)

So far there have been 54 applicants to the program, 29 of which already have their projects completed and have received their reimbursement checks. To date over $431,000 has been paid out and over 372 acres of unwanted/uncontracted Concord vineyards have been replaced with another agricultural commodity.

The VIP program is provided by New York Ag and Markets and is funded by the Southern Tier Agricultural Industry Enhancement Program. It is available to the Southern Tier of New York which for this program includes the following counties: Chautauqua, Erie (NY), Niagara, Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins, and Tioga.

We will be taking applicants for the program who feel that they will be able to complete the removal and replant project by the end of the growing season next year – that will be by November 2024.

If you have questions, please contact Kim Knappenberger (ksk76@cornell.edu).

The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a subordinate governmental agency with an educational mission that operates under a form of organization and administration approved by Cornell University as agent for the State of New York. It is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The association is part of the national cooperative extension system, an educational partnership between County, State, and Federal governments. As New York’s land grant university Cornell administers the system in this state. Each Cornell Cooperative Extension association is an independent employer that is governed by an elected Board of Directors with general oversight from Cornell. All associations work to meet the needs of the counties in which they are located as well as state and national goals. For more information, call 716-664-9502 or visit our website at www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Cornell University Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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