News story provided by California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Fresno.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will support 321 projects in all 50 states, plus American Samoa and Guam, that help to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases threatening U.S. agriculture and the environment.
The funding, totaling $50 million, is provided by Section 10201 of the 2008 Farm Bill. “We are committed to partnering with our stakeholders to achieve our mutual goals of identifying and mitigating threats to American agriculture, enhancing our emergency-response capabilities, and increasing public awareness of the danger of invasive pests and diseases,” said Vilsack. “American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides safe, affordable food to consumers. I am confident that the selected projects will help our farmers, ranchers and foresters continue to flourish and build upon these successes.”
Examples of specific projects include, among others, a nationwide survey of honey bee pests and diseases, the monitoring of high-risk international and domestic pathways for invasive species, applied research to combat citrus pests, the development of detector-dog surveillance programs in certain high-risk agricultural states, and targeted invasive species public outreach. The FY 2012 funding plan, list of selected projects, and general feedback are posted on the following website: www.aphis.usda.gov/section10201.
Funded projects were organized around six Section 10201 goal areas: enhancing plant pest/disease analysis and survey; targeting domestic inspection activities at vulnerable points in the safeguarding continuum; enhancing and strengthening pest identification and technology; safeguarding nursery production; enhancing mitigation capabilities; and conducting outreach and education about these issues.