Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is allocating $57,762,405 from Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill to support 513 projects provided to partners in 53 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. These projects will aim to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture and the environment, as well as ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean plant stock. By working with states, federal agencies, universities, non-profits and tribal organizations, APHIS can extend its ability to protect, detect, and respond to plant pests and diseases with projects identified and tailored locally.
“USDA continues to fulfill our commitment through the Farm Bill to safeguard American agriculture and the natural environment against destructive invasive pests,” said Vilsack. “These projects will help strengthen both rural and urban communities by securing crop production on America’s farms, protecting forests and other natural plant resources, ensuring the health of plant cultivation within gardens and nurseries, and promoting the global competitiveness of our country’s specialty crop commodities.”
Since the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted, APHIS has funded more than 1,700 projects that have played a significant role in protecting American agriculture. Collectively, these new projects will help USDA and its partners quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive pests. They also help the U.S. maintain the infrastructure necessary for making sure that disease-free, certified planting materials are available to American specialty crop producers.
This year, funded projects include:
- Asian Defoliating Moth Survey: $1,166,298 for 13 states;
- Spotted lanternfly: $1,682,999 to support eradication and education efforts in Pennsylvania;
- Coconut rhinoceros beetle: $1.7 million to respond to infestations in Hawaii and Guam;
- Honey bees: $1,562,079 to survey honey bee populations, study bee health, conduct canine apiary inspection for disease detection, and conduct pollinator education and outreach;
- Invasive pest control on Tribal lands: $522,240 for six projects to support Tribal outreach and education initiatives and projects to mitigate and control invasive pests on Tribal lands;
- Giant African land snail: $2,080,000 to support ongoing eradication efforts in Florida and develop Activators and Attractants;
- Agriculture Detector Dog Teams: $4,451,455 to programs in California and Florida to enhance inspections and efficiently move products;
- Grapes: $860,690 to enhance surveys for grape commodity pests and diseases in 17 states and harmonize Grapevine Nursery Stock Certification Programs in the Pacific Northwest;
- Palm Commodity Survey: $676,146 in 10 States and Territories;
- Forest pest outreach: 17 states and $730,147 for forest pest outreach and education; and
- National Clean Plant Network: $4,574,905 to support 30 specific crop programs with 22 cooperators. These projects in 17 states focus on providing high quality propagated plant material for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses free of targeted plant pathogens and pests.
The Farm Bill provided $62.5 million for these programs in fiscal year (FY) 2017, though funding was reduced by sequestration. You can view the FY 2017 Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill spending plan on the APHIS web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/farmbill.
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 http://www.HungryPests.com to learn more about invasive plant pest and diseases and their impact.
The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past eight 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 www.aphis.usda.gov/farmbill.