$17.6 million from USDA to California Ag

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$17.6 million from USDA to California Ag

The USDA allocates $17.6 million to projects that protect California’s agriculture and natural resources.

Van Pichler, national policy manager for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the agency wants to control invasive pests entering the country through imports.

The money is for monitoring, identifying and mitigating threats.

The funds will support more than a dozen projects…including $4 million for the use of detector dog teams to detect invasive plant pests at ports of entry.

“The dogs are trained on specific odors and have been very successful in detecting larvae of the giant African snail, spotted lantern fly, Japanese beatle, and Mexican fruit fly, among others.”

Another pest detection project includes $268,500 for X-ray technology.

“This is a project we are using to develop contrast X-ray imaging technology and artificial intelligence to detect invasive pests.”

Under the Plant Protection Act, the USDA said it provided more than $70 million in funding this year to support 372 projects in 49 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.

To apply for other funding opportunities open this summer, go to www.APHIS.USDA.gov.

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