U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has allocated $58.25 million from Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This money will support 434 projects that prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture and the environment and ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean plant stock in the United States. Funding will be provided to 50 States plus Guam and Puerto Rico to implement projects suggested by universities, States, Federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, non-profits and Tribal organizations.
“Through the Farm Bill we are working with our partners and stakeholders to not only ensure the global competitiveness of our specialty crop producers but to fight back against the destruction caused by invasive pests,” said Vilsack. “The projects and centers funded through this effort are helping to develop and put in place the strategies, methods and treatments that safeguard our crops, plants, and natural resources from invasive threats.”
Since the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted, APHIS has funded more than 1,200 projects that have played a significant role in our efforts to protect American agriculture. Collectively, these projects make it possible for us to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive pests.
They also help our country maintain the infrastructure necessary for making sure that disease-free, certified planting materials are available to U.S. specialty crop producers.
This year, funded projects include:
- Old world bollworm (Helicoverpa Armigera): $420,725 to delimit the infestation in Puerto Rico and collect and study samples of the pest; and $470,004 for survey and response planning activities in Florida;
- Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer/Fusarium Dieback in avocado: $175,000 for survey, early detection, and educational outreach in California;
- Bark beetle: $157,793 for a Regional Identification Center for Bark Beetle and other wood boring beetles in Oregon;
- Giant African land snail: $2,203,080 to support ongoing eradication efforts in Florida;
- Spotted lanternfly: $1,666,612 million to support eradication and education efforts in Pennsylvania;
- Coconut rhinoceros beetle: $1,649,384 to respond to infestations in Hawaii and Guam;
- Honey bees: $1,068,988 to survey honey bee populations and study bee health;
- Invasive pest control on Tribal lands: $504,786 for six projects to support Tribal outreach and education initiatives and projects to mitigate and control invasive pests on Tribal lands;
- Grapes: $465,145 to enhance surveys for grape commodity pests and diseases in 15 states.
- National Clean Plant Network: $5 million to support 22 projects in 17 states that focus on providing high quality propagated plant material for fruit trees, grapes, hops, berries, citrus, roses and sweet potatoes free of targeted plant pathogens and pests.
The Farm Bill provided $62.5 million for these programs in fiscal year 2016, though funding was reduced by sequestration. The FY 2016 Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill spending plan is available on the APHIS Web site here..
The public can help protect America’s agricultural and natural resources by being aware of invasive pests and the damage they cause. APHIS created the Hungry Pests public outreach program to empower Americans with the knowledge they need to leave these “hungry pests” behind. Visit this website. to learn more about invasive plant pest and diseases impacting your area and how you can help. And, join the discussion about invasive plant pests via the Hungry Pests Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past seven years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit this website.