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USDA Provides Funds to Nebraska for Agricultural Pest and Disease Protection

USDA Provides Funds to Nebraska for Agricultural Pest and Disease Protection

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.

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