APHIS Funding Announced for SOD

May 21, 2004 - 06:52

Agriculture secretary Ann M. Veneman announced the transfer of $15.5 million from the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to APHIS to help halt the spread of Phytophthora ramorum, or Sudden Oak Death (SOD), to non-infested areas of the United States.

"These funds will enhance our efforts to control Sudden Oak Death," said Veneman. More than 100 nurseries in 13 states received infected plants from one nursery in southern California. APHIS will launch a national survey to determine if Sudden Oak Death is causing disease symptoms on hosts and associated hosts in other parts of the United States.

APHIS officials will use the funding for nursery inspection, sampling and testing, and education and outreach for SOD. Funding will also help enforce APHIS' current federal order to prevent the further spread of the disease to other nurseries in the United States.

To help address the ongoing issue in California, APHIS will provide $6.9 million of this funding to the state for quarantine efforts and identification of infected nurseries. The remaining $8.6 million will be used for surveys, other quarantine and regulatory enforcement, public outreach and laboratory diagnostics and testing.

"USDA must implement a response plan that includes a comprehensive national survey of Phytophthora ramorum in the United States," said Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations for ANLA. "We expect further funding will be needed for prevention, compensation and research." According to ANLA, sources close to APHIS indicated the internal allocation of another $3 million in funding toward SOD containment and control efforts.

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