Twenty-one Pennsylvania projects will protect the state’s agriculture industry against pest and disease as a result of nearly $2.8 million in funding through the 2014 Farm Bill, Acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced.

“When we fight invasive species in Pennsylvania, we aren’t just working to safeguard our agriculture industry, but the industry in neighboring states and across the country,” said Redding. “I appreciate the support that USDA has given us – particularly to combat the Spotted Lanternfly – as these programs will help agriculture across our nation and around the globe.”

The projects are funded through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The program supports projects that prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests, diseases and pathogens, as well as ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean plant stock in the United States.

Grants, which are distributed throughout state government, universities and nonprofits, total $2,777,197. They will, in part, address Spotted Lanternfly, but also diseases affecting honeybees and other threats such as boxwood blight, thousand cankers disease and the walnut twig beetle that carries it, and the Asian giant hornet. Other money will support outreach and survey efforts for orchards, grapes and other industry segments.

More than $1.5 million of the funding will help Pennsylvania eradicate the Spotted Lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest discovered last fall in Berks County. The insect could severely impact the state’s grape, fruit tree and hardwood industries. It is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that also grow in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Agriculture will receive nearly $1.4 million to hire crews for survey and assist in eradication efforts in the six Berks County townships infested with the Spotted Lanternfly.

More than $122,000 in additional funding has been made available for federal research on pathways for pest introduction, pesticide efficacy, and development of monitoring and control tactics. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will receive more than $27,000 to study the impact of Spotted Lanternfly on the grape industry and to develop control solutions for growers and an additional $30,500 for outreach and extension programming. Kutztown University will receive more than $13,000 to study the North American host range of Spotted Lanternfly and its seasonal occurrence.

Other funding will go to:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Apiary:
    • $48,450 for the detection and mitigation of the Asian giant hornet and other invasive vespa species
    • $12,000 for the National Honey Bee Survey of pests and diseases
  • PDA Entomology:
    • $138,204 for the grape commodity survey
    • $74,532 for the Solanaceous commodity survey
    • $74,532 for the small fruit/mixed berry commodity survey
    • $74,532, for the Walnut Twig Beetle/Thousand Cankers Disease survey
  • PDA Pathology:
    • $16,897 for exotic disease survey in orchards
    • $22,772 for the Solanaceous commodity survey
  • Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council – $52,921 for forest pest outreach
  • Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences:
    • $160,341 to predict the cumulative and ecological impacts of exotic pests and pathogens on forests of the eastern U.S.
    • $56,349 for the exotic disease survey in orchards
    • $41,322 for the optimization and deployment of a systematic approach for diagnosis and identification of Phytophthora plant pathogens
    • $39,045 to examine the effect of composting physical and chemical parameters on Cylindrocladium buxicola, the causal agent of boxwood blight
    • Pennsylvania Fruit Tree Certification Program – $73,768 for a workshop on the continued development of harmonized fruit tree virus certification standards
  • The Sentinel Plant Network non-profit – $227,239

For more information about the USDA APHIS funding, click here.