Five Western New York counties have been designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as disaster areas due to crop damage caused by this winter’s extreme cold weather, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, announced .
Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties have been approved as primary disaster areas. Allegany, Erie and Wyoming counties, which are adjacent to them, also have been included in the declaration.
Schumer said he urged the disaster declaration after visiting numerous wineries this winter. He also called for relief for vineyard owners through the federal Tree Assistance Program. He said Cornell University scientists have found that more than 50 percent of the buds on grape vines were damaged by the cold.