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Maryland Grape Growers Association offering vineyard assistance

May 13, 2008

The Maryland Grape Growers Association is accepting applications for the 2009 Vineyard Capital Assistance Program.

The purpose of the program is to increase the number of commercial wine-grape plantings throughout the state.

This program was made possible through the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund.

The program will reimburse awardees between $2 and $2.50 per vine. The minimum required planting will be 650 vines. The reimbursement is capped at 2,400 vines.

Eligibility

· Owner or co-applicant with owner, of at least five acres of land where agricultural use is permitted by local and state regulations.

· Applicants who cannot provide proof of having sold grapes to a Maryland winery will be required to attend a grape growing seminar sponsored by the Maryland grape and wine industry.

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· As part of the selection process, the proposed vineyard site will be visited by a representative of the Maryland Grape Growers Association. Applicants who do not desire a site visit should not apply for this program.

· Successful applicants will be required to submit a copy of a packing slip or invoice documenting the quantity and variety of vines purchased prior to reimbursement in 2009.

· Successful applicants will also be required to submit a copy of a packing slip or invoice documenting the purchase of vineyard supplies prior to reimbursement in 2009.

· Applicants whose land is enrolled in Federal Farm Bill Programs must check with their county Farm Service Agency to ensure that they have fruit and vegetable allocations on the intended vineyard acres.A vineyard business plan, necessary equipment, and evidence of longterm commitment to commercial grape production must be evident in the application.

No vineyard experience is necessary; however, new growers will be required to attend a new grape growers class prior to the 2009 planting season. These classes are offered through the Maryland Cooperative Extension service.

The application deadline is June 15. Awardees will be notified in August so that vines may be ordered for the 2009 planting season.

For the full program guidelines and application form, visit www.marylandgrapes.org, click on Vineyard Capital Assistance Program.

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