USDA Allocates $70M to Help Fight Pests, Diseases
On March 2, the USDA announced it is allocating almost $70 million to support 386 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.”
Selected projects will be carried out by universities, states, federal agencies, and other nongovernmental organizations in 48 states and territories.
Commenting on the USDA’s move, Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s senior vice president for advocacy and research, said, “The Plant Pest and Disease Mitigation and Disaster Prevention Program has a complicated name but adds great value for the horticultural industry; $70 million in special funding for harmful plant pest prevention, monitoring, and solutions.”
“AmericanHort advocated for the program’s creation in the Farm Bill and is pleased that it has since been made a permanent part of the USDA budget,” he added.
“This program helps USDA build mutually beneficial partnerships with state governments, academic institutions and other important agricultural cooperators across the country,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “Our cooperators use these USDA funds to conduct critical projects that keep U.S. crops, nurseries, and forests healthy, boost the marketability of agricultural products within the country and abroad.”
The project list includes 29 projects funded through the National Clean Plant Network, to provide high quality propagated plant material free of targeted plant pathogens and pests.
Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,000 projects and provided nearly $600 million in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program.
“AmericanHort and Horticultural Research Institute welcome USDA-APHIS’ funding announcement,” said Dr. Jill Calabro, director of science and research programs at AmericanHort/HRI. “This program has become an indispensable tool as we work proactively to solve plant health challenges that harm our growers and landscapes, and to prevent the next one from happening.”
You can learn more about the Plant Protection Act on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website at www.aphis.usda.gov/ppa-projects.