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Learn to launch grape business at FSR

Ohio growers interested in launching a wine grape business or expanding an existing vineyard can learn more about the new Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program at Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review.

Maurus Brown, an OSU Extension small fruit specialist, and Christy Eckstein with the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, will present a session on the program at 3 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Center for Small Farms, located on Beef Street in the exhibitor area.

The show is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Brown said the program, which was launched this year, replaces the Ohio Vine Grant Program. The new program attracted 35 applicants, 19 of which were approved $2,000 each for their vineyards.

“The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program is designed to encourage the establishment of new wine grape vineyards in Ohio, as well as expand existing vineyards, specifically for the production of vinifera and French-American hybrids,” Brown said.

The incentive program was created by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant program. It’s intended to meet the goal of increasing grape acreage in Ohio by 10% over the next five years.

Growers interested in participating in the program may apply for up to $3,000 per acre with a maximum of 3 acres or $9,000. The funding will cover only the cost of the winegrape vines planted.

The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program presentation is one of 19 sessions being offered at the Farm Science Review Center for Small Farms. Other topics include government programs for beginning farmers, local foods, using social media, food safety practices, alternative energy sources, getting started in aquaculture, agritourism, using cover crops and the fundamentals of direct marketing.

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