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USDA DECLARES EXTRAORDINARY EMERGENCY IN - MICHIGAN

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Claude Knighten (301) 734-5271
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

MICHIGAN AND NEW YORK DUE TO PLUM POX VIRUS

UPDATE: The declaration of extraordinary emergency became effective Friday, May 18.

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2007--Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today declared an extraordinary emergency in Michigan and New York and made funds available on a cost-share basis to assist with plum pox virus (PPV) eradication efforts in both states.

“If left unchecked, PPV could have devastating effects on our Nation's fruit growers,” said Johanns. “USDA is fully committed to stopping the spread of this disease, and we will work with Michigan and New York to support survey, regulation and eradication.”

Both the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYDAM) requested federal assistance to help eradicate the disease. Through a cooperative survey, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and NYDAM confirmed PPV in two commercial orchards in Niagara County, N.Y., in July 2006. In August 2006, MDA detected the disease at a single location in southwestern Michigan.

Plum pox strain D, which is the strain detected in both states, is a serious viral disease of stone fruit that first appeared in the United States in Pennsylvania in October 1999. USDA has worked cooperatively with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to eradicate the disease there, and today, the area under quarantine is less than 100 square miles, down from 260 square miles at the height of the outbreak.

PPV affects a number of Prunus species, including peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums. Infection eventually results in severely reduced fruit production and poor fruit quality. There is no cure or treatment for the disease; accordingly, infected trees must be destroyed. The disease is spread short distances (a few meters to, rarely, as much as 20 miles) by aphids. Spread over longer distances is usually through the movement of infected budwood and nursery stock. Plum pox strain D is not spread by fruit, so the movement of fruit is not restricted.

Notice of this action is scheduled for publication in the May 23 Federal Register.

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