Sterile NOW Project Gets Major Funding in Appropriations Bill

Dan Funding, Nuts & Grapes

A navel orangeworm moth perched on a pistachio.
UCANR Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey

The project looking at sterile technology to help combat navel orangeworm gets a big boost.

Navel orangeworm is a continuing issue for almond and pistachio producers. Research is looking into many different ways to control the pest. One of the newer projects AgNet West has followed along the way is the research that is sterilizing NOW moths and releasing them into orchards. The project hit some initial speed bumps but has recently produced more encouraging results

The moths are reared and sterilized in an older facility in Arizona that was previously used to do the same with pink bollworm in cotton. Since the announce eradication of the bollworm, California nut industries have taken over that facility, and associations have partially funded the operation. It’s a very merry Christmas indeed for California nut industries as AgNet West reported earlier this week, President Trump signed the appropriations bill and in that was $6 million of funding for the NOW Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) program. 

Several groups have been actively lobbying for additional federal funding, including the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA), The Almond Alliance, and others while being led by The American Pistachio Growers. WAPA said in a release that this is a big win for the industries involved that are looking for more tools to integrate into the current management of the pest.

Sterile NOW Project Gets Major Funding in Appropriations Bill
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Taylor Hillman

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AgNet Media Operations Manager and Farm News Director for AgNet West.