Funding to Protect Texas Citrus

Josh McGill Citrus, Texas

A significant portion of the $3 million the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating to Texas for pest detection, surveillance, identification and threat mitigation is targeted to the state’s citrus industry. Among other citrus-related projects, the USDA is including money to aid Texas in the control of Asian citrus psyllids and the HLB disease they spread.

The largest portion of the funding will go toward researching management strategies for Mexican fruit flies. (Photo by Jack Dykinga, USDA)

“Texas has more than 248,000 farms and ranches, which sell more than $24 billion in agricultural products. One out of every seven working Texans makes a living in agriculture. Protecting Texas’s agricultural industry is critical,” USDA Undersecretary Jenny Moffitt said. “These projects will help Texas protect its resources and contribute to keeping our nation’s agricultural economy strong.”

Funding will support projects covering a range of plant health and pest mitigation activities, including, but not limited to:

  • $408,944 for research on targeted antimicrobials, bait sprays and other measures for Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens) management
  • $297,774 to study the impacts of phage therapies on bacterial plant pathogens
  • $266,514 to improve sterile insect technique
  • $252,750 to support National Clean Plant Network plant stocks for citrus and roses
  • $247,354 to improve the efficacy of therapeutics to HLB-infected citrus trees
  • $208,216 to develop a microbial control of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus to protect Texas citrus
  • $155,010 for the deployment of a predatory mite (Amblyseius swirskii) to suppress Asian citrus psyllid populations in residential and organic citrus

Overall, USDA is providing more than $70 million in funding this year to support 372 projects in 49 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. USDA provides this funding under the authority of the Plant Protection Act (PPA) Section 7721.

Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,800 projects and provided nearly $740 million in PPA 7721 funding. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive plant pests and diseases. They also help the U.S. maintain the infrastructure necessary to ensure disease-free, certified planting materials are available to U.S. specialty crop farmers.

The fiscal year 2022 Plant Protection Act Section 7721 spending plans can be viewed here.

Source: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

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