Congressman Langworthy Introduces the GRAPE Act to Improve Crop Insurance for American Grape Growers

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The GRAPE act will insure farmers against unexpected freezes

Photo from Hunt Country Vineyards in Branchport NY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23) introduced the Grape Research and Protection Expansion Act, known as the GRAPE Act. This critical legislation aims to provide comprehensive crop insurance for grape growers who suffer losses due to freeze events, addressing a significant gap in current agricultural support policies.

“Grape growers in Western New York and the Southern Tier are vital to our local economy and our nation’s agricultural sector — the GRAPE Act will ensure they have the necessary resources to recover from the devastating impact of unexpected freezes,” said Congressman Langworthy. “In April, the Lake Erie grape belt experienced a hard frost, causing substantial damage that threatened the entire crop, resulting in major financial losses for local producers. Because of this, I am committed to fighting for the inclusion of this provision in the upcoming Farm Bill to provide grape growers across the United States with affordable crop insurance, safeguarding their livelihoods and ensuring the continued success of our agricultural communities.”

The GRAPE Act will:

  • Mandate the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to develop a policy specifically for insuring table, wine, and juice grapes against losses due to freeze events.
  • Require ongoing research to ensure the insurance policy is robust, effective, and meets the unique needs of grape growers.
  • Provide grape growers with an affordable safety net, reducing the financial impact of freeze-related losses.

This legislation also has support from outside organizations, including Farm Credit East.

“Crop insurance plays a vital role in helping farmers manage the weather and market risks inherent in production agriculture. The proposed GRAPE Act demonstrates how the crop insurance program can be tailored and improved to address the evolving challenges facing today’s grape growers,” said Jeremy Forrett, Senior Vice President of Crop Growers at Farm Credit East.

As a longtime advocate for the rural economy, Congressman Langworthy supports a robust Federal crop insurance program as the premier risk management tool for U.S. producers — emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strong crop insurance title in the Farm Bill (Title 11). The GRAPE Act is part of Congressman Langworthy’s broader efforts to strengthen the agricultural sector and support American farmers in navigating the challenges of modern agriculture.

This week, Congressman Langworthy also led a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack urging the approval of New York State’s disaster declaration for the April 25th freeze experienced by Western New York grape growers.

Key background on grape production in NY23:

  • NY-23 has over 130,000 acres of insured land.
  • New York is the nation’s second-largest Concord grape producer, and the Lake Erie Concord Belt is the oldest and largest Concord grape-growing region in the world.
  • Our grape industry alone contributes 9,597 jobs to our economy – that includes tourism and similar jobs created by our local vineyards.

Congressman Nick Langworthy represents the 23rd Congressional District of New York, including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben Counties, and parts of Erie County. Visit langworthy.house.gov.

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