March 6 2020 08:57 AM

Projects include spotted lanternfly survey and protection of ash trees from emerald ash borer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is allocating $1.2 million to Maryland as part of its effort to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification and threat mitigation, and to safeguard the U.S. nursery production system.

“Maryland is a critical partner in protecting U.S. agriculture,” says USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “Through these projects, Maryland will be able to better protect its own resources, and contribute to USDA’s mission of keeping our nation’s agriculture economy healthy and strong.”

These funds will support projects covering a range of plant health and pest mitigation activities, including the following:

  • $435,434 to support spotted lanternfly survey and outreach in the state;
  • $176,104 to support biological control efforts to protect ash trees from emerald ash borer;
  • $172,800 to develop a toolkit of DNA barcodes and digital image resources for downy mildew pathogen species;
  • $140,000 to support inter-laboratory validation of high throughput sequencing for the detection of regulated pathogens on specialty crops;
  • $112,799 to create a cDNA library to better understand bee health, and facilitate collaboration with other honeybee researchers;
  • $103,825 to enhance the identification of fungal intercepts at ports of entry;
  • $74,287 to support National Clean Plant Network foundation plant stocks for citrus and roses

Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,000 projects and provided nearly $600 million in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive pests and diseases. They also help our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to make sure that disease-free, certified planting materials are available to U.S. specialty crop producers.