House bill aids transportation of grape harvests

For drivers to qualify for the exemption the grapes also have to be transported within 175 miles of where they were picked.

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Reed introduced H.R. 3110 after hearing from a vineyard in his district. Jim Bedient's vineyard in Branchport, N.Y., wanted to extend the exemption for grape haulers from 100 to 175 air miles.

“The purpose of extending the requirement from 100 to 175 air miles is to allow growers to get their produce from a given point in the Finger Lakes to many of the processing facilities downstate and along Lake Erie,” Reed said when introducing the legislation last year. “Given the perishable nature of grapes, being able to get their product to processors more than 100 miles away in an expedient manner is critical to the industry.”

Reps. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) are co-sponsoring the bill, which is expected to be voted on Wednesday.

Grape harvests in the United States usually start in the summer but continue well into fall. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that about 7 million tons of grapes were harvested nationally.

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