USDA and Cornell University Break Ground on National Grape Improvement Center in Geneva, New York

GENEVA, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new state-of-the-art USDA grape research facility on the Cornell AgriTech campus.

The over 70,000 square foot facility will be named the National Grape Improvement Center and will house the ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit and ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit. In addition, four Cornell grapevine research projects will move into the research facility.

“Ag research conducted by USDA and Cornell University will both enhance U.S. grape production and ensure farmers are better able to fight the impacts of climate change,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to work with Leader Schumer to invest in the USDA-ARS National Grape Improvement Center, which in turn helps maintain our nation’s food security while also building a stronger and more resilient food system.”

ARS and university employees will focus on research to advance grape production through interdisciplinary research, breeding and technology transfer. Their work will aim to enhance grape production efficiency, profitability and sustainability for the United States grape industry.

“The USDA-ARS National Grape Improvement Center will provide an excellent platform for deepening the productive synergies in grape research between ARS and Cornell University and will offer tremendous opportunities for collaboration,” said ARS Administrator Dr. Simon Liu. “This facility will provide our researchers with greater resources to continue the pioneering work that has cultivated a legacy of innovation and enhanced grape quality worldwide.”

The partnership between ARS and Cornell University brings together researchers with diverse skills and knowledge to develop technology that will solve agricultural challenges impacting farmers, producers and consumers nationwide.

“On behalf of Cornell University, I am grateful for the federal investment that is building the USDA-ARS National Grape Improvement Center on the campus of Cornell AgriTech,” said Cornell University Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff. “Locating this state-of-the-art facility here recognizes the longstanding and productive partnership between Cornell and the ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit, and solidifies the Finger Lakes as the hub of cold climate grape research in the United States.”

Other leaders who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony included:

  • Xochitl Torres Small, USDA Deputy Secretary
  • Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader, New York
  • Christine Smart, Goichman Family Director of Cornell AgriTech
  • Dr. Gan-Yuan Zhong, ARS Grape Genetics Research Unit and ARS Plant Genetic Resources Unit Research Leader

The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in U.S. agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.