ANLA's advocacy efforts have helped to guide more than $1 million in research funds to address boxwood blight and impatiens downy mildew.
Through collaboration and advocacy efforts, the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) has successfully highlighted the threats that boxwood blight and impatiens downy mildew pose to the industry, helping to guide more than $1 million in research funds to address them. The U.S. Department of Architecture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it is awarding funds to research efforts tackling the two issues, part of the spending plan for section 10201 of the Farm Bill — funding intended to tackle pest and disease prevention and management issues impacting specialty crops.
The $385,000 awarded to impatiens downy mildew research efforts represents new funding and the first time that Farm Bill dollars will be provided to deal with the disease. The $660,000 given to two coordinated projects on boxwood blight is a continuation of a collaborative effort that began last year with $550,000 in Farm Bill support.
"The nursery and greenhouse industry is a vital component of our nation's agriculture, and these two pathogens are new challenges facing our growers and impacting two important crops," says Joe Bischoff, ANLA director of government relations. "For too long, specialty crops did not have access to the research support enjoyed by commodity crops, but that is starting to change. It's our job to make sure that the policymakers are aware of the importance of our industry and the crops we grow."
Boxwood (Buxus spp.) and common impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) are cornerstone crops in the industry. Together the plants represent more than $275 million in annual sales. Specialty crops — which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, floriculture and nursery crops — make up almost half of all farm gate receipts. Nursery and greenhouse crops represent roughly one-third of the value of all specialty crops, according to the ANLA.