Wines & Vines

Great lakes growers face losses

Great lakes growers face losses

A predicted banner crop for grape growers near Lake Erie looked instead like a harvest of devastating losses, after an unseasonably warm spring was interrupted by an unexpected killer frost in late May.

Losses were substantial enough that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture declared Erie County. Pa. a disaster area, allowing farmers to apply for low-interest loans. Four grape growing counties in Michigan were also designated disaster areas, and some agricultural experts estimated that as much as 90% of Michigan’s crop of juice grapes was lost.

Growers in New York counties bordering Lake Erie also sustained losses to the tune of $10 million. The May frost was the first in more than 60 years.

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