August 23, 2006
U.S. Agriculture Secretary
Mike Johanns announced today announced the availability of
nearly $13 million in emergency funding for potato cyst nematode
(PCN) survey efforts.
"I'm pleased to announce today
that we are dedicating $13 million to surveying efforts to
eradicate for potato cyst nematode," said Johanns in remarks to
the World Potato Congress. "The potato cyst nematode is a plant
pest that poses a significant threat to the potato industry and
our economy. This additional funding will ensure that there is a
robust survey program in place to quickly detect and eradicate
this pest, preventing its spread to seed potatoes or additional
The U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) originally
discovered PCN April 19 as part of the Cooperative Agricultural
Pest Survey (CAPS), a surveillance program managed jointly by
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and state
departments of agriculture.
USDA will provide approximately
$7 million to Idaho for surveys and approximately $6 million
will be used for a nationwide PCN survey. Approximately $1.5 of
these funds have already been expended by USDA for these efforts
since April. PCN, Globodera pallida, is a major pest of potato
crops in cool-temperate areas. It primarily affects plants
within the potato family including tomatoes, eggplants and some
weeds. It does not post a threat to human health.
PCN infestations may be
associated with patches of poor growth. Affected potato plants
may exhibit yellowing, wilting or death of foliage–none of which
has been observed in Idaho potato fields. If left unmanaged,
nematodes can cause significant yield loss. The PCN is widely
distributed in many potato-growing regions throughout the world.
Early detection of pests
minimizes agricultural production costs and enhances product
quality and marketability. Crop rotation and the use of
certified seed and nematicides (fumigants or granular systemic
compounds) are effective and practical means of suppression.