USDA announced it will spend $48 million from the 2014 farm bill to help prevent the introduction or spread of invasive pests and crop diseases. Scientists estimate the total economic cost of all invasive species to be approximately $120 billion annually.

"Invasive pests cause billions of dollars in damage each year and endanger our nation's food security," U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The funds USDA is making available today will help partners and stakeholders develop strategies, products and treatments to safeguard our farms and natural resources from invasive threats."

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sought project suggestions from states and U.S. territories, universities, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private companies and tribal organizations that would provide a direct impact in managing pests and diseases, as well as disaster prevention.

APHIS is funding 383 projects in 49 states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. The projects approved for allocation will help states and other partners continue providing and strengthening protections against agricultural threats and could also allow the reallocation of resources to other critical programs.

A list of selected projects and the FY 2014 funding plan. Funded initiatives include:

  • $227,808 to North Carolina for enhancing exotic plant pest management by creating New Pest Response Guidelines with university collaboration.
  • $270,907 to survey and analyze adult honey bee samples collected from apiaries across multiple U.S states and Puerto Rico for pests and diseases, such as the Varroa virus.
  • $290,000 to the Nez Perce Tribe Bio-control Project involving noxious/invasive weed survey and control activities.
  • $224,894 for the National Plant Board to develop a harmonized national systems approach to nursery certification that enhances existing state programs to reduce the risk of plant pests in nursery stock.
  • $2.4 million for supporting response to the recently detected coconut rhinoceros beetle infestation in Hawaii.
  • $2 million for protection against exotic fruit flies in California.