The U.S. Department of Agriculture is allocating $16 million to California as part of its effort to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, and threat mitigation, and to safeguard the U.S. nursery production system. Overall, USDA is providing $66 million in funding this year to support 407 projects in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. USDA provides this funding under the authority of the Plant Protection Act Section 7721.
“California is a critical partner in protecting U.S. agriculture,” said USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “With this funding, California will be able to better protect its own resources, and, in doing so, contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agriculture economy healthy and strong.”
These funds will support projects covering a range of plant health and pest mitigation activities, including the following:
- $5 million to survey for harmful exotic fruit fly populations in the State;
- $3,510,536 to support the activities of California’s agricultural detector dog teams searching for harmful, exotic plant pests in packages at mail and express parcel delivery facilities;
- $2,214,226 to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for citrus, grapes, fruit trees, sweet potato, and roses;
- $1,779,510 to support California’s Emergency Plant Health Response Teams for responding to, delimiting the infestation area, and managing outbreaks of exotic plant pests;
- $450,000 to conduct citrus pest surveys for citrus commodities;
- $425,000 to survey for Asian defoliator moths;
- $406,319 to support pest and disease mitigation research to protect ornamental nurseries;
- $239,477 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;
- $228,156 to explore potential real-time DNA sequencing for quick, accurate identification of exotic mites collected from cargo shipments and personal baggage entering the U.S. that potentially pose a plant health risk; and
- $225,188 to support the development and evaluation of using a sterile insect release program to help manage navel orangeworm, which is a harmful pest to the production of many fruits and nuts.
Since 2009, USDA has supported 2,346 projects and provided approximately $293.5 million in funding under the Plant Protection Act. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive pests and diseases. They also help our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to make sure that disease-free, certified planting materials are available to U.S. specialty crop producers.
You can view the FY 2019 Plant Protection Act Section 7721 spending plans on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/ppa-projects.
APHIS created the Hungry Pests public outreach program to empower Americans with the knowledge they need to leave these "hungry pests" behind. Visit www.aphis.usda.gov/hungrypests to learn more about invasive plant pests and diseases impacting your area and how you can help.
The USDA is handing out similar grants in other Western states, including $2.5 million apiece for Oregon and Washington, $1.7 million for Idaho and $3.1 million for Hawaii.