Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Detector Dog Teams among recipients as California allocated nearly $12 million in USDA spending plan for plants, pests and diseases


Detector Dog ‘Bishop’ and handler.

California state government as well as academia and non-profit agencies have been allocated a total of $11,938,300 in the USDA spending plan to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture and the environment, as well as ensure the availability of a healthy supply of clean plant stock.

The appropriations are part of a total USDA allocation of $57,762,405 in 2014 Farm Bill funding for support of 513 projects in 53 states, territories and the District of Columbia.

CDFA has been named as a recipient of $3,241,455 for its detector dog teams; $3 million for exotic fruit fly surveys; and $1.7 million for emergency plant health response programs.

The California Dog Teams program enhances inspection and surveillance activities related to plant products entering the State of California via parcel delivery facilities and airfreight terminals. The USDA allocation helps provide for ongoing operations.

The dog teams have demonstrated that unmarked parcels present a high-risk pathway for harmful pests to enter California. Between July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015, the teams alerted on 22,583 total marked and unmarked parcels containing agricultural product. A total of 490 actionable pests were intercepted during this period. (An actionable pest may be a pest of economic or environmental concern and is either not known to be established in California or it is present in a limited distribution that allows for the possibility of eradication or successful containment.) Additionally, 2,273 package rejections were issued during that time period for violations of state and federal plant quarantine laws and regulations.

Video about the dog teams:

Link to USDA news release

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