Washington receives $3.5m in USDA funds to fight farm pests

For the Basin Business Journal | February 21, 2021 1:00 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $3.5 million to the state of Washington to help deal with invasive species and farm pests, including nearly $600,000 to combat the Asian giant hornet.

The funding is part of more than $70 million set aside for 383 agricultural projects in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia under the Plant Protection Act, according to a USDA press release.

“Washington has more than 35,000 farms on about 15 million acres. The state produces around 300 agricultural products valued at $7.9 billion. Protecting Washington’s agricultural industry is critical,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach. “These projects, will help Washington protect its resources and contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agriculture economy strong.”

In addition to the funds to combat the Asian giant hornet, the funding also includes $270,000 to survey for Asian defoliator moths, $139,000 to support Asian gypsy moth treatments, $150,000 to combat stone fruit pests, roughly $127,000 for nurseries across the state to support standardization of certification standards and compliance, and $100,000 each to help fight grape pests and forest pests.

The USDA also announced $1.2 million in funding to support the National Clean Plant Network’s foundation plant stocks in Washington state.

The network is an association of specialty crop producers, mostly grape growers and orchardists, to “promote the use of pathogen-tested, healthy plant material for specialty crops in the United States,” according to the network’s website.

Since 2009, the USDA has provided roughly $670 million to nearly 4,400 projects across the United States under the Plant Protection Act. The goal of the funding is to “allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive plant pests and diseases,” according to a USDA press release.