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U.S. to buy excess NY grape juice

February 5, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand have successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to spend $11.5 million in Section 32 funds to purchase Concord grape juice for use in domestic nutrition programs. The grape industry currently has a surplus of Concord grapes used to make juice, from a large 2013 crop.

“The USDA’s decision to heed our call and purchase more grapes ahead of this year’s harvest is a win-win for New York growers and individuals receiving nutrition assistance,” said Sen. Schumer. “More juice sales mean more profit for our growers. 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. New York is replete with vineyards from Long Island to Western New York, and today’s announcement is good news for every grape-grower in New York.”

Section 32 funds are used by USDA to purchase agriculture products that are in turn used for nutrition programs such as the school lunch program. These bonus buys by USDA have been effective in the past to stabilize agriculture markets while increasing the supply of nutritious foods available for domestic food assistance programs.