The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating $155,293 to Nebraska 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 $66 million in funding this year to support 407 projects in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. 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. “With this funding, Nebraska will be able to better protect its own resources, and, in doing so, contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agriculture economy healthy and strong. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) will raise awareness about the threat of forest pests and will survey for cyst nematodes in soil and for the khapra beetle, one of the most destructive pests of stored grain.”
In 2016 the emerald ash borer (EAB), a beetle native to Asia that has destroyed tens of millions of true ash species in over 25 states, was detected in areas of Southeast Nebraska; some 44 million Nebraska ash trees are at risk. NDA participates in efforts to raise awareness about EAB and other harmful forest pests to protect the State’s forests, windbreaks, and urban trees.
The introduction and establishment of the khapra beetle in Nebraska could cause significant economic damage. Regular survey is therefore essential for early detection and, if found, a coordinated rapid response. NDA will work with USDA to identify and focus on international markets likely to bring in khapra host beetle materials, using the results to support continued foreign market access for Nebraskan agricultural products.
While many of the foreign markets that were closed to U.S. potatoes after the discovery of potato cyst nematode (PCN) in Idaho in 2006 have reopened, continual survey efforts are necessary to maintain and expand foreign market access. NDA will conduct a survey of potato production areas in the state following procedures and protocols set by USDA to show the state’s commitment to maintaining pest-free areas. USDA funds will also support academic research in Nebraska to enhance diagnostics for cyst and root-knot nematodes.
Since 2009, USDA has supported 2,346 projects and provided approximately $293.5 million in funding under the Plant Protection Act. 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.
You can view the FY 2019 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.
APHIS created the Hungry Pests public outreach program to empower Americans with the knowledge they need to leave these “hungry pests” behind. Visit www.aphis.usda.gov/hungrypests to learn more about invasive plant pests and diseases impacting your area and how you can help.