The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating more than $70 million to support 383 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies.
In the West, the allocations include $17.1 million for California, nearly $1.6 million for Idaho, $3.5 million in Washington state and $1.4 million for Oregon.
Universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and tribal organizations will carry out selected projects in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
“State governments, academic institutions, and other essential cooperators across the country use these USDA funds to protect American crops and natural resources and ensure the marketability of our agricultural products across the globe,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
The fiscal year 2021 project list includes 29 projects funded through the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). The NCPN helps our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to ensure that pathogen-free, disease-free and pest-free certified planting materials for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses are available to U.S. specialty crop producers.
Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,400 projects and provided nearly $670 million in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive plant pests and diseases.
In FY 2021, funded projects include, among others:
- Asian giant hornet research and eradication efforts: $944,116 in Washington and other states;
- Exotic fruit fly survey and detection: $5,575,000 in Florida and California;
- Agriculture detector dog teams: $4,287,097 to programs in California, Florida, and nationally to support detector dog teams;
- Honey bee and pollinator health: $1,337,819 to protect honey bees, bumble bees and other important pollinators from harmful pests;
- Biosecurity: $1,339,183 to Texas to monitor for pests in agricultural shipments at ports of entry;
- Stone fruit and orchard commodities: $1,158,000 to support pest detection surveys in 10 states including New York and Pennsylvania;
- Forest pests: $876,485 for various detection tools, control methods development, or outreach to protect forests from harmful pests in 16 states, including Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, and New Hampshire;
- Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death pathogen) and related species: $513,497 in 14 states and nationally for survey, diagnostics, mitigation, probability modeling, genetic analysis, and outreach;
- Solanaceous plants (including the tomato commodity): $434,000 to support surveys in 13 states including Texas, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
USDA will use $14 million to rapidly respond to invasive pest emergencies should a pest of high economic consequence be found in the United States. In the past, USDA has used these funds to rapidly respond to pests such as grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, the Asian giant hornet, coconut rhinoceros beetle, exotic fruit flies, and the spotted lanternfly.
As the United States and the world recognize the International Year of Plant Health through June 2021, this funding highlights USDA’s continued commitment to safeguarding our agricultural resources for current and future generations.
Here are some details about the allocations to Western states.
The USDA is allocating $17.1 million to California.
“California has more than 76,000 farms and ranches, which generate about $100 billion in related economic activity. Protecting California’s agricultural industry is critical,” Ibach said. “These projects will help California protect its resources and contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agricultural economy strong.”
These funds will support projects covering a range of plant health and pest mitigation activities, including:
- $4.575 million to survey for invasive fruit flies in the state;
- $4 million to support California’s agricultural detector dog teams which search for harmful invasive plant pests in packages at mail and express parcel delivery facilities;
- $2.9 million to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for citrus, grapes, fruit trees, sweet potato, and roses;
- $2 million to support California’s Emergency Plant Health Response teams in managing outbreaks of exotic plant pests;
- $400,000 to survey for Asian defoliator moths;
- $391,699 to develop tools for the identification and detection of Graminicolous downy mildews, a group of plant pathogens that threaten corn, wheat, rice, and barely crops;
- $375,000 to support pest and disease mitigation research to protect ornamental nurseries;
- $300,000 to conduct surveys for stone fruit commodities;
- $246,315 to support the development and evaluation of using a sterile insect release program to manage navel orangeworm --a harmful pest to California’s $6 billion pistachio and almond crops; and
- $225,000 to conduct citrus pest surveys for citrus commodities.
The USDA has set aside $1.4 million for Oregon projects.
“Oregon has more than 37,000 farms and ranches and more than 15 million acres of farmland. Protecting Oregon’s agricultural industry is critical,” Ibach said.
These funds will include:
- $235,000 for Asian defoliating moth survey;
- $246,669 to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for berries;
- $177,944 to support an evaluative, collaborative, and strategic approach to the “Don’t Pack a Pest Campaign” targeting university students and faculty traveling internationally;
- $156,884 to survey certified prunus nurseries for the causal agents of little cherry disease;
- $152,429 to develop nematodes in the genus Phasmarhabditis as biological control agents of invasive gastropods;
- $95,121 to safeguard grapevine nurseries from introduced pathogens; and
- $70,000 to support nursery surveys.
Washington state is getting $3.5 million, according to USDA.
“Washington has more than 35,000 farms on about 15 million acres. The State’s produces around 300 agricultural products valued at $7.9 billion,” Ibach said.
These allocations include:
- $1,196,727 to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for multiple crops;
- $460,099 to support the Asian giant hornet response;
- $270,000 to survey for Asian defoliator moths;
- $150,000 to survey for stone fruit pests;
- $139,000 to support the Asian gypsy moth post-treatment response;
- $130,965 to support community outreach and education for the Asian giant hornet;
- $126,830 to support harmonizing nursery certification standards for specialty crops to safeguard nursery production and comply with new European Union regulations;
- $100,000 to survey for grape pests; and
- $100,000 to survey for forest pests.
Projects in Idaho are getting nearly $1.57 million.
“Idaho has nearly 25,000 farms and ranches, which produce 185 different commodities," Ibach said.
Funded projects include:
- $860,632 to support potato cyst nematode research in the State;
- $250,000 to support biological control efforts of noxious and invasive weeds;
- $203,987 to support genetic diversity research of the potato cyst nematode;
- $152,610 to support research regarding the emergent and invasive pest species in the Western United States; and
- $105,159 to protect the U.S. potato industry against exotic viroid pathogens impacting the potato trade.
Learn more about the Plant Protection Act, Section 7721 on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website: www.aphis.usda.gov/ppa-projects.