USDA Funding Battle Against Plant Pests

USDA has allocated $45 million, provided by Section 10201 of the 2008 Farm Bill, for projects in support of critical plant health safeguarding initiatives across America. The funding was announced earlier this week by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Funding will be provided to more than 50 cooperators, including state departments of agriculture, universities, non-profit organizations and USDA agencies in support of over 200 projects. As Vilsack announced, these state, regional and national projects will support the Farm Bill goals of building strong systems to safeguard the health of U.S. agricultural industries using early plant pest detection and surveillance, threat identification and mitigation.

Roughly $2 million of these funds are being targeted to projects specifically related to the goal of safeguarding nursery production.

“A number of the target projects are relevant to the green industry,” says Craig Regelbrugge, ANLA vice president for government relations. “We are especially excited several projects will seek to validate and measure effectiveness of best management practices and nursery systems approaches for pest management and nursery plant certification.”

One such project is expected to be carried out in a partnership with the Horticultural Research Institute and a university cooperator. Other projects of interest are focused on detection or containment of serious plant pests.

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