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Pest and disease prevention projects get a boost from USDA
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Prevention projects in California and throughout the nation have been given a much needed boost from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has just announced his agency will support 321 projects with $50 million in funding from the 2008 Farm Bill.
California's preventive efforts include detector dog teams at package shipping facilities.
California's pest prevention efforts include detector dog teams working in package shipping facilities. Examples of specific projects funded by USDA include a nationwide survey of honey bee pests and diseases, the monitoring of high-risk international and domestic pathways for invasive species, applied research to combat citrus pests, the development of detector dog surveillance programs in certain high-risk agricultural states, and targeted invasive species public outreach. The 2012 funding plan, list of selected projects and general feedback are posted at
California's projects total more than $15 million. They fall under categories including pest and disease surveys, detection technologies, diagnostic capacity building, taxonomic support, nursery certification programs, systems approaches for nursery production, outreach and education, producer/first detector training, applied mitigation research and development, and preparation (early detection). Specific projects include support for California's detector dog teams; surveys for exotic pests such as khapra beetles and exotic wood-boring and bark beetles; development of attractants that will aid in the trapping of pests; digital training/screening/identification tools; development of best management practices for nurseries; enhanced molecular diagnostics for fruit flies; and research and outreach to protect forests, landscapes and ornamentals.