WASH, D.C.--Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the availability of an additional $11.3 million in emergency funding for the emerald ash borer (EAB) program and $500,000 for the potato cyst nematode (PCN) program in Idaho.
"This additional funding will enhance our efforts to eliminate these plant pests and safeguard American agriculture," Johanns said. "The emerald ash borer funding is for enhanced early detection efforts and strict quarantine enforcement while the potato cyst nematode money brings the program one step closer to eradication of the pest in Idaho."
USDA will provide this emergency funding to states with established EAB programs and quarantines to support pest detection, control, regulation of host material that will mitigate the risk of further spread of the pest, as well as outreach and education to the general public. A portion of the funding will also be provided to targeted uninfested states at risk for EAB for additional survey and response if a detection of the pest should occur. Early detection of new infestations is critical to enhancing USDA's ability to eradicate such incursions and contain the pest within quarantine areas.
EAB is an invasive species of wood-boring beetles, native to China and eastern Asia that targets ash trees in North America. It was first detected in July of 2002 in southeastern Michigan and has since been found in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois and most recently in Pennsylvania. More than 177,934 square miles are currently quarantined due to the presence of the beetle. EAB has been responsible for the death and decline of more than 25 million ash trees in the United States.
EAB larvae feed in the phloem and outer sapwood of ash trees eventually killing the branches and entire trees. Trees can die within two to three years of becoming infested. Ash trees are important to wildlife species because of their seed production and are important to the nursery, landscaping, timber, recreation and tourism industries. Ash wood is also used for flooring, furniture and sports equipment, in addition to playing an important role in the culture and heritage of Native Americans.
The $500,000 for PCN is in addition to nearly $24 million in emergency funding that has already been dedicated toward PCN surveillance and eradication activities in Idaho--the only state with PCN. Specifically, the funding will advance intensive survey activities in seed potato fields, packing facilities and storage sheds. State and federal agricultural officials will also continue soil fumigations and quarantine enforcement to eradicate PCN in Idaho.
PCN, Globodera pallida, is a major pest of potato crops in cool-temperate areas. It primarily affects plants within the potato family including tomatoes, eggplants and some weeds. If left uncontrolled, nematodes can cause up to 80 percent yield loss.
PCN is known to exist in many potato-growing regions throughout the world. In North America, the nematode is also known to be present on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. PCN infestations may be associated with patches of poor growth. Affected potato plants may exhibit yellowing, wilting or death of foliage--none of which has been observed in Idaho potato fields.