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February 9, 2016

U.S. Buys $11.5M Worth of Grape Juice After Push by Schumer, Gillibrand

New York’s senators are lauding the Agriculture Department’s move to buy millions of dollars worth of grape juice.

Democrats Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand praised the announcement of an $11.5 million “bonus buy” of Concord grape juice. The move will help stabilize grape prices after a bumper crop last year and will boost the supply for school lunches and other USDA nutrition programs.

In a release, the senators noted that several states will see their producers benefit from the grape juice purchase.

“More juice sales mean more profit for our growers, like Winegrape Growers, Inc., and Clearview Farms in the Finger Lakes, for our Niagara Grape growers in Western New York and places like Giancarelli Brothers in Cayuga County,” Schumer said in a statement. “On top of that, it means the market for their product will be stable ahead of this year’s harvest, so they will now have the certainty they need to make the decision to expand or grow jobs this year.”

Schumer and Gillibrand asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make the bonus purchase in a letter sent in August 2013. Gillibrand serves on the Agriculture Committee.

“The anticipated carryover must be reduced as quickly as possible to minimize effects on the Concord growers. Not only will this help New York State’s 281 growers and over 9,700 acres of Concord vineyards, but it will help the industry across the country,” the letter to Vilsack said.

“When we connect our grape growers in Western New York and the Finger Lakes, we can help strengthen our agriculture economy, while bringing healthy, nutritious grape juice to school children across the country,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

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