SACRAMENTO, June 9, 2011 – California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross applauds the announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) of funding for dozens of projects in California and across the country that will help protect against the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten the food supply and the environment. The $50 million national effort is part of the 2008 Farm Bill.
“As the nation’s leading agricultural state, California is the first line of defense for our country’s food supply,” said Secretary Ross. “USDA’s announcement of more than $14 million for projects in California — as well as a number of multistate and national projects that include the Golden State — means the protective system can extend and improve its ability to detect, analyze, contain and eradicate high-priority pests and diseases.
“California’s food supply system is a marvel of variety, ingenuity, productivity and safety. These projects are part of an ongoing federal-state partnership that helps generate the research, strategies and tools that help protect our system.”
The projects include surveys for exotic pests and crop diseases; improved technology to identify suspect insects; “detector dog” teams that sniff out smuggled/concealed produce; and development of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tools. Several of the projects are focused on particular pests or diseases such as Plum Pox Virus, Sudden Oak Death, fruit flies or the European grapevine moth; others address general needs such as surveys to detect exotic pests or improved strategies for early detection of invasive species.
The national list of funded projects is available online at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pest_detection/downloads/FY11Projects.pdf
The list is organized by sections: survey and analysis, domestic inspection, pest identification and technology, safeguarding nursery systems, outreach and education, and enhanced mitigation.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814