- Associated Press - Friday, May 1, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says replacing an outdated laboratory at Cornell University is critical to the health of New York state’s $65 million potato industry.

The New York Democrat said he has written to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to prioritize the replacement of the Federal Nematode Quarantine Facility at Cornell.

The lab studies pests that can devastate potato plants. The facility is 78 years old and Schumer says it needs significant upgrades to continue its mission.

Schumer says two species of invasive pests are threatening the state’s potato farms and underscoring the importance of the work done at the lab.

New York has more than 1,200 potato farms.

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