The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating $7.2 million to Florida 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.
“Florida is a critical partner in protecting U.S. agriculture,” said USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “With this funding, Florida 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:
- $1,331,601 to support eradication activities against the giant African land snail in Florida;
- $1,324,464 to support the activities of Florida’s detector dog teams and enhanced efforts to detect harmful, exotic plant pests in packages at mail and express parcel delivery facilities;
- $1 million to survey for harmful exotic fruit fly populations in the State;
- $427,650 to protect Florida as the leading producer of lychee and longan in the United States by supporting litchi mite eradication activities in the State;
- $314,451 to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for citrus and grapes;
- $295,076 to develop alternatives to control melon fly due to the pest’s rising resistance to spinosad treatments;
- $277,267 for research in Florida to develop biological control efforts against the Harrisia cactus mealybug, which is known to be in the State, so as to protect cactus resources in Puerto Rico where the pest has yet to be established;
- $216,243 to support biological control efforts against cactus moth, an invasive pest in Florida that threatens prickly pear cactus;
- $210,957 for vector identification and mitigation for the palm-infecting phytoplasmas pathogen; and
- $160,000 to support survey efforts Old World bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) and other pests of tomato crops.
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.