WASHINGTON, D.C. – On March 27, the USDA-APHIS announced the spending plan for section 10201 of the Farm Bill – funding intended to tackle pest and disease prevention and management issues impacting specialty crops.
Through collaboration and advocacy efforts the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) successfully highlighted the threats Boxwood Blight and Impatiens Downy Mildew pose to the industry and helped to guide over $1 million in research funds to address them. 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 this particular disease.
The $660,000 given to two coordinated projects on Boxwood Blight is a continuation of the collaborative effort that began last year with $550,000 in Farm Bill support.
According to Dr. Joe Bischoff, ANLA’s director of government relations, “the nursery and greenhouse industry is a vital component of our nations agriculture, and these two pathogens are new challenges facing our growers and impacting two important crops." Boxwood (Buxus spp.) and common impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) are cornerstone crops in the industry. Together these popular plants represent more than $275 million in annual sales.
Bischoff added, "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.” 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.
For more on Impatiens Downy Mildew from L&L, click here.