News Release
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Media Contacts:
Jay Van Rein
Release #03-072
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Board will meet Tuesday, October 28 and the Pierce’s Disease Program Advisory Task Force will meet Wednesday, October 29 in Napa, CA, to review the program’s progress and examine research, legislation and other activities related to the fight against this pest and disease.

The PD/GWSS Board, appointed by CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr., is made up of growers and processors from the state’s major grape-growing regions.  The board was created in 2001 by a law that also provides for an annual assessment paid by the industry to help fund scientific research to find a cure for Pierce’s disease, and to respond to glassy-winged sharpshooter infestations.

The Advisory Task Force, also appointed by the CDFA Secretary, advises the department on the overall Pierce’s Disease Program and includes representatives of the broader agricultural industry affected by the program.

“This program bas been a model of cooperation between the state and federal governments and private industry,” said Secretary Lyons, who is scheduled to attend both sessions. “I look forward to an opportunity to review our progress and to hear about future plans.”

The board meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on October 28; the Advisory Task Force meeting will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on October 29.  Both meetings will be held at the Embassy Suites, 1075 California Boulevard, Napa, CA 94559.

Pierce's disease is a lethal disease that afflicts grapevines. It 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 1800s.  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.

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, CDFA and agricultural commissioners have inspected thousands of shipments of nursery plants and grapes. Other efforts include an aggressive trapping and survey program to detect the insect, several “area-wide management programs” to target infestations in particular regions, and a long-term research effort to find a cure or treatment for Pierce’s disease.

Since these efforts began in 1999, more than $130 million in state and federal funds have been allocated to fight Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter. For additional information on the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease, please visit



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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814