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Federal lawmakers call for emergency funding to support frost ravaged Finger Lakes farms

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have made an urgent appeal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to aid Finger Lakes farms, vineyards, and orchards, which suffered significant crop losses due to a recent frost.

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According to scientists at Cornell University, the cold snap led to a 15% loss of the state’s apple crop and varying losses in vineyards across the state, ranging from 5% to 100%.

The senators stressed the necessity for the USDA to be prepared for approving a disaster declaration and providing emergency relief.

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Schumer underscored the potential long-term effects of the frost on family-owned businesses and called for rapid issuance of reimbursements to eligible growers through the Tree Assistance Program. The senators also highlighted that further frost events forecasted in the coming days could aggravate the situation, which already shows damage to perennial fruit crops as high as 95% on some farms.

The actual extent of the damage is still being assessed and is expected to be fully revealed only by the end of the growing season.