USDA Allocates $58.25M to Protect Agriculture, Plants
SAN JUAN — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday that the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has allocated $58.25 million to 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 U.S. Funding will be provided to 50 States plus Guam and Puerto Rico to implement projects suggested by universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits 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.
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 public can help protect agricultural and natural resources by being aware of invasive pests and the damage they cause. APHIS created the Hungry Pests public outreach program to educate people about these.