USDA $1.2 million to control plant pests and diseases will amplify proposed budget investments to protect PA agriculture

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – This week, the US Department of Agriculture funded $1.26 million in work that will protect Pennsylvania’s agricultural imports, exports and domestic products from pests and disease threats. The federal funding will complement and amplify $3.5 million in increased funding for rapid response to agricultural emergencies proposed in Governor Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 budget.

“Pennsylvania agriculture feeds our nation, our world and our economy, contributing $132.5 billion each year and supporting more than 593,000 jobs,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Federal dollars will leverage the investments Governor Wolf has proposed to protect our supply chain and infrastructure and ensure Pennsylvania products flow in and out of our ports and production centers.

“Rapid detection and response to new invasive species and diseases that threaten agriculture is critical to protecting our future,” Redding said. “This federal and state funding keeps our fields, farms and food safe, maintains confidence in our transported goods and keeps dollars flowing into our economy.”

The USDA funding is part of more than $70 million awarded to 372 projects nationwide through the federal Plant Protection Act. The bulk of the funds will go to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to investigate diseases and pests that threaten orchards, vineyards, vegetable and nursery plants, and forest products. Funding for the department’s spotted lantern fly detection dog and two Temple University research projects to predict and control the spread of destructive pests are also among the plans.

Funded projects in Pennsylvania also include wood-eating insect research by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, two genetic disease detection research projects by Penn State University, all of which will help detect exotic diseases in imports which threaten the valuable state nursery and hardwood industries. Further details can be found in the USDA’s Plant Protection Act Expenditure Plan.

Governor Wolf’s 2022-2023 Budget continues the Governor’s commitment to agriculture by maintaining full funding for programs created under the historic Pennsylvania Farm Bill of 2019 – a bold, aggressive and necessary investment in agriculture to expand opportunities and resources, remove barriers to entry, and inspire future generations of industry leaders.

PA Farm Bill funding over the past three years has included $3 million to fund rapid response to agricultural disasters, whether animal health, plant health or foodborne disease by the through the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account. The proposed budget for 2022-23 increases funding to $6.5 million. The increase will help fund a regional public-private partnership model to address invasive species called PRISM, which recognizes that Pennsylvania’s terrain, climate and species diversity requires both a regional approach and partnerships between entities with different powers to solve problems.

Pennsylvanians can learn more about Governor Wolf’s budget at budget.pa.gov and about the Wolf administration’s work to ensure Pennsylvania agriculture continues to thrive and grow at agriculture.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – [email protected], 717.603.2056

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