Dec 14, 2016
Farm Bill Designates Funds for Horticulture Projects

On December 13, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is allocating nearly $58 million Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill to support 513 projects with partners in 53 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.

These projects aim to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture, horticulture, and the environment, and to ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean planting stock.

“Since this unique Farm Bill program’s inception, AmericanHort and our Horticultural Research Institute foundation have worked diligently to ensure that horticulture industry priorities receive the attention they deserve,” said Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort senior vice president for advocacy and research. “The 10007 program has become a major tool for pest prevention and mitigation solutions,” he added.

In FY 2017, the Horticultural Research Institute will receive $105,600 in funding to advance the Systems Approach for Nursery Certification pilot program, a cooperative effort of the National Plant Board, industry, and USDA-APHIS.

Some additional priority projects funded that are of direct interest to the industry include:

  • Roughly $700,000 in funding for coordinated projects to address the threat of boxwood blight, Calonectria pseudonaviculata;
  • $185,000 in funding for two projects addressing downy mildews;
  • $116,000 in industry-relevant pollinator projects;
  • Nearly $700,000 for work addressing Phytophthora ramorum and a newer emerging threat, P. tentaculata. This funding includes program support for the National Ornamentals Research Site at Dominican University of California (NORS-DUC), a unique facility that enables regulated Phytophthora work to be undertaken in a nursery-like environment;
  • $55,000 for developing best management practices to address crown gall of Loropetalum, an emerging disease threat;
  • $84,000 to support continued development of the Plant Risk Analysis (PRE) tool for evaluating a plant’s invasiveness potential. HRI had provided early funding for this project.

Finally, $4.6 million in funding will go to 22 centers that are part of the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). NCPN supports the safe importation, pathogen-testing, and release to the private sector of propagative material including stone and pome tree fruit, citrus, grapes, berries, roses, hops, and sweet potatoes.

“This program is a crown jewel of the Farm Bill and a great example of what’s working well,” said Michael Frantz, Frantz Wholesale Nursery, CA and a member of the AmericanHort advocacy and public policy committee. “It will remain a top-of-list priority for AmericanHort as Congress begins to consider the next Farm Bill.”