Suzanne.M.Bond@usda.gov or 301-851-4070
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating almost $70 million to support 386 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 (PPA 7721) program to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies. Selected projects will be carried out by universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and Tribal organizations in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
“This program helps USDA build mutually beneficial partnerships with state governments, academic institutions, and other important agricultural cooperators across the country,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “Our cooperators use these USDA funds to conduct critical projects that keep U.S. crops, nurseries, and forests healthy, boost the marketability of agricultural products within the country and abroad.”
The FY 2020 project list includes 29 projects funded through the National Clean Plant Network, to provide high quality propagated plant material for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses free of targeted plant pathogens and pests.
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.
This year, funded projects include, among others:
USDA is reserving $15.5 million of the $70 million in funding to support rapid response during invasive pest emergencies should a pest of high economic consequence be found in the United States. In the past USDA has used these funds to rapidly respond to pests such as Giant African snail, European cherry fruit fly, coconut rhinoceros beetle, exotic fruit flies, or spotted lanternfly.
As the United States and the world recognize 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.
Learn more about the Plant Protection Act, Section 7721 on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website 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.