Suzanne Bond, 301-851-4070
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2020 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating funding to Nebraska from Section 7721 of the Plant Protection Act as part of its effort to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, and threat mitigation, and to safeguard the U.S. nursery production system. Overall, USDA is providing almost $70 million in funding this year to support 386 projects in 48 States, The District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. USDA provides this funding under the authority of the Plant Protection Act Section 7721.
“Nebraska is a critical partner in protecting U.S. agriculture,” said USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Through these projects, Nebraska will be able to better protect its own resources, and, contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agriculture economy healthy and strong.”
Imported products bring the risk of invasive plant pests that can affect both nursery and commercial agricultural production. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) will conduct surveys for invasive nursery pests at locations across the State. The results will assist nursery stock producers in maintaining their pest-free status and ability to produce and distribute nursery stock nationwide. In 2018 alone, NDA inspected over 1,600 nursery production acres including field and greenhouse sites.
NDA will also use the funds to survey for khapra beetle, a pest of stored grain that could cause significant economic damage if it were to enter and become established in this country. These surveys are essential for early detection and rapid response. NDA will also use its khapra beetle survey results to support continued foreign market access for Nebraska’s grain exports.
In addition, NDA will survey potato production areas in the State following procedures and protocols set by USDA to demonstrate the Nebraska’s continued freedom from potato cyst nematode. They will also use USDA funds to support academic research to enhance diagnostics for cyst and root-knot nematodes. Nebraska will receive close to $60,000 in funding to support these projects.
Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,000 projects and provided nearly $600 million in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive pests and diseases. They also help our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to make sure that disease-free, certified planting materials are available to U.S. specialty crop producers.
As the United States and the world celebrate the International Year of Plant Health in 2020, this funding highlights USDA’s continued commitment to safeguarding our agricultural resources for current and future generations.
You can view the FY 2020 Plant Protection Act, Section 7721 spending plans on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/ppa-projects.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.