USDA Invests $70 Million To Defend Against Plant Pests & Diseases

Box tree moth and sudden oak death are among the issues receiving funding.

Credit: USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing over $70 million in 374 projects that will strengthen the country’s defenses against plant pests and diseases, safeguard the U.S. nursery system, and enhance pest detection and mitigation efforts.

Jenny Moffitt, Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs, highlighted that these funds provide states, universities, tribal organizations, and partners nationwide the tools they need to protect U.S. agriculture, our natural resources, and food security. “With our partners throughout the country, these projects will help in the fight against invasive plant pests and diseases…” Moffitt said.

Out of the 374 projects funded this year, 353 are managed by the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program and 21 are supported through the National Clean Plant Network. Some of this year’s projects selected for funding that relate to the landscape industry include:

  • Box tree moth. Photo: APHIS

    Box tree moth: $890,137 to survey and protect American boxwoods from the invasive pest;

  • Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) and related species: $1,068,589 in 17 states, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and nationally for survey, research, mitigation, and outreach;
  • Invasive defoliating moths: $1,456,893 to support surveys and enhance identification technologies in 16 states, including Alaska, California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada, and North Carolina;
  • National Honey Bee Survey: $1,521,204 to support honey bee surveys in 41 states and territories;
  • Tribal organization’s plant protection research, survey, outreach, and invasive pest mitigation efforts: $1,545,290 in 6 states;
  • Forest pests: $1,240,130 for various detection tools, control methods development, and outreach to protect forests from harmful pests in 15 states, including Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia; and
  • Northern giant hornet research and eradication efforts: $1,097,052 in Washington;

USDA plans to allocate approximately $11 million for rapid responses to invasive pest emergencies, addressing pests with high economic consequences. In the past, USDA has used these funds to respond quickly to threats like the box tree moth, spotted lanternfly, Asian longhorned beetle, and invasive fruit flies. For more details, view the fiscal year 2024 Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 spending plans online:

For related pest news, see:

Boxwoods At Risk: Invasive Pest Found In U.S. For First Time

The Spongy Moth…It’s Back And Spreading. Find Out Where

Top 20 Regions For Spotted Lanternfly

Green Industry Team Answers Call To Treat 150 Ash Trees In Des Moines

Progress On Asian Longhorned Beetle Eradication In Ohio


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