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What's New

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Implementation of the Quagga and Zebra Mussel Action Plan (QZAP) in the Western United States (Aug 18, 2020)
California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Funding Opportunity for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife QZAP FY2020 has officially been posted. The total funding amount for projects is approximately $1,830,000.00, which is a significant increase from years past. This opportunity will be open for application through October 18, 2020.

Post Date: Aug 19, 2020
Availability of Petition for Deregulation of American Chestnut Developed Through Genetic Engineering (Aug 18, 2020)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a petition from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) seeking deregulation of an American chestnut variety developed using genetic engineering for fungal resistance to chestnut blight. The petition will be available for public review and comment for 60 days. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts to assist in our assessment of the petition as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act. The petition and Federal Register notice can be viewed on the News page of the BRS website, and members of the public will be able to submit comments through October 19, 2020, at www.regulations.gov.

Post Date: Aug 19, 2020
USDA Declares August Tree Check Month (Jul 23, 2020)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Urges Public to Look For Invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle and Not Move Firewood

August is the peak time of year to spot the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) as adults emerge from trees. That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is declaring August as ‘Tree Check Month.’ Checking trees for the beetle and the damage it causes is one way residents can protect their own trees and help USDA’s efforts to eliminate this beetle from the United States.

Post Date: Aug 18, 2020
E-Noses Detect Emerald Ash Borer Larvae (Aug 6, 2020)
USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

Electronic noses are sensitive to a vast suite of volatile organic compounds that every living organism emits. A new USDA Forest Service study shows that e-noses can detect emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) larvae lurking under the bark – an early, noninvasive detection method. "The results were quite spectacular," says Dan Wilson, a research plant pathologist and lead author of the study. The findings were published in the journal Biosensors.

Post Date: Aug 13, 2020
APHIS Seeks Feedback on List of Animal and Plant Pest Disease Threats (Aug 6, 2020)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking feedback on its proposed list of pests and diseases of concern that are likely to pose a high risk to U.S. agricultural and natural resources.

Section 12203 of the 2018 Farm Bill requires pest- and disease-planning activities that mirror the extensive planning efforts APHIS already performs. Specifically, it requires APHIS to develop a uniform list of pests and diseases that represent the gravest threat to the United States and to develop comprehensive response plans to ensure Federal and State governments are prepared to respond to them.

See Animal and Plant Diseases and Pests of Concern for more information. The agency will review comments from the public about the list, including suggestions of pests or diseases that should be added or removed. In providing comments, individuals should keep in mind that the Farm Bill definition of a pest or disease of concern limits this list to those that are “likely to pose a significant risk to the food and agricultural critical infrastructure sector” and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible pests or diseases. Comments may be submitted to APHISPestDiseaseList@usda.gov.

Post Date: Aug 13, 2020
Barking Up the Right Tree: Canines Detect HLB (Aug 4, 2020)
USDA. ARS. Tellus.

A unique program run by the Agricultural Research Service in Fort Pierce, FL, uses specially trained dogs to detect citrus greening in orchards. The canine-detection method has an accuracy rate of 99 percent.

Post Date: Aug 05, 2020
USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicated Seeds from China (July 2020)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed (July 2020) that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation. Updates on this situation are provided on this USDA webpage.

USDA is committed to preventing the unlawful entry of prohibited seeds and protecting U.S. agriculture from invasive pests and noxious weeds. Visit the APHIS’ website, Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance (SITC), to learn more about USDA’s efforts to stop agricultural smuggling and promote trade compliance.

See also: Amazon Bans Sale of Foreign Seeds in the U.S. (New York Times, Sep 8, 2020)
The company’s decision comes after thousands of U.S. residents reported receiving unsolicited packets of seed from China, prompting all 50 states to issue safety warnings.

Post Date: Jul 29, 2020
Asian Longhorned Tick Found in Kentucky (Jul 21, 2020)
University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

The Asian longhorned tick, which preys on a variety of hosts including humans and wild and domestic animals, has been found in Kentucky. This new tick is known to attack animals in large numbers and will be a concern to livestock producers, wildlife enthusiasts and pet owners. The tick has been found in small numbers on elk in Martin County and black bear in Floyd County. It was found in large numbers on a bull in Metcalfe County in the south-central part of the state. Individuals who find a usually large number of ticks on their pet or livestock should contact their local veterinarian. Those who find single ticks they think might be an Asian longhorned tick should work with their county extension agent for agriculture and natural resources to submit the sample to UK entomologists for positive identification.

Post Date: Jul 22, 2020
Global Action Needed Now to Halt Spread of Deadly Pig Disease (Jul 20, 2020)
World Organisation for Animal Health; UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The escalation of the spread of African swine fever (ASF) has placed most of the world's domestic and wild pig populations under direct threat. To support countries' efforts to protect economies and food security, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a joint initiative for the Global Control of ASF (PDF | 5.7 MB).

Post Date: Jul 22, 2020
Pollinators at a Crossroads (Jun 20, 2020)
USDA. Blog.

Bees and other pollinators, including birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, and small mammals, play a critical role in our food production system. A healthy pollinator population is vital to producing marketable commodities. More than 100 U.S. grown crops rely on pollinators. The added revenue to crop production from pollinators is valued at $18 billion. Pollinators also support healthy ecosystems needed for clean air, stable soils, and a diverse wildlife. That’s why USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) partners with the Land-Grant University System, U.S. government laboratories, and private and non-profit organizations to support research, education, and extension programs advancing pollinator health.

Post Date: Jul 15, 2020