U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the allocation of $48.1 million, provided by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), to projects across the country that will help to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten America’s agriculture economy and the environment.
The economic stakes for stopping invasive species are high, with scientists estimating the total economic cost of all invasive species to be approximately $120 billion annually.
“Invasive pests cause billions of dollars in damage each year and endanger our nation’s food security,” said Vilsack. “The funds USDA is making available today will help partners and stakeholders develop strategies, products and treatments to safeguard our farms and natural resources from invasive threats.”
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sought project suggestions from states and U.S. territories, universities, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private companies and tribal organizations that would provide a direct impact in managing pests and diseases, as well as disaster prevention.
A list of selected projects and the FY 2014 funding plan are posted at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2014/04/pdf/fy14_farm_bill_spending_plan.pdf
Funded initiatives include $2 million for protection against exotic fruit flies in California.
Prospective projects were evaluated by teams comprised of USDA experts and industry representatives and were selected based on criteria that supported six goals:
- enhancing plant pest/disease analysis and survey
- targeting domestic inspection activities at vulnerable points in the safeguarding continuum
- enhancing and strengthening pest identification and technology
- safeguarding nursery production; enhancing mitigation capabilities
- conducting outreach and education about these issues.
The teams also evaluated submissions based on expected impacts of the project, the technical approach, and how submissions would complement ongoing USDA programs and other previously funded projects funded under the 2008 Farm Bill (Section 10201).
The 2008 Farm Bill has provided funding for more than 1500 projects over the last five years and has played a significant role in protecting American agriculture and educating the public about the threat of invasive species.
Visit www.Hungrypests.com during April, which APHIS has proclaimed Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, to learn more about invasive plant pest and diseases impacting your area and how you can help. And, join the discussion about invasive plant pests via the HungryPests Facebook page.