SACRAMENTO-The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Board will meet on Tuesday, October 29, 2002, in Ventura, CA. The group, appointed by CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr., is made up of growers and processors from the state’s major grape growing regions and is responsible for making program recommendations to CDFA. The meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton-Ventura Harbortown, 1050 Schooner Drive, Ventura, CA 93001.
The board was created by Governor Gray Davis when he signed AB 1394, by Assemblymember Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), in July 2001. This law provides for an annual assessment to be paid by the industry to help fund research and other measures to find a treatment or cure for Pierce’s disease and to respond to glassy-winged sharpshooter infestations.
Pierce's disease is a lethal disease that affects grapevines, almonds, and other crops, and is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. The disease has been present in California for decades, killing thousands of acres of grapevines as far back as the late 19th century. At least 24 counties in California have reported cases of Pierce's disease. In 1999, it was discovered that a new leafhopper, known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter, was spreading Pierce's disease in Southern California. The outbreak caused losses of millions of dollars to wine grape growers in the Temecula Valley.
Infestations of the glassy-winged sharpshooter have been identified in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Clara, Imperial, Sacramento, Contra Costa, Butte, Fresno, Tulare, Kern and Santa Barbara counties. To stop the spread of the pest, county agricultural commissioners have inspected more than 100,000 shipments of nursery plants and more than 100,000 shipments of grapes since the program began.
Governor Davis has taken a number of steps to prevent this threat to California's $33 billion wine industry. Over the past two years, the governor has signed legislation providing over $17 million to boost research and eradication efforts. To date, more than $50 million in state, federal, and private funds has been allocated to fight Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter. CDFA coordinates the statewide regulatory program, which includes long-term research and short-term eradication and control programs.
For additional information on the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease, please visit the following web site www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdcp.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814