The USDA is funding numerous anti-pest initiatives. ( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is allocating about $70 million to support almost 500 projects across the U.S. to attack invasive plant pests and disease.

The funds are from the 2014 farm bill, which has funded a total of $228 million to fight pests, according to a USDA news release.

“Getting these funds into the hands of our cooperators around the country helps us to keep U.S. plants, crops and forests safe from invasive pests and diseases, enhances the marketability of our country’s products, and makes American agriculture and natural resources thrive,” USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach said in a news release.

This year’s funded projects include:

  • $851,000 to enhance surveys for grape pests and diseases in 18 states and harmonize the Grapevine Nursery Stock Certification Program;
  • $1.34 million to support citrus states to survey, develop diagnostic tools and conduct rapid response for viruses related to Citrus Leprosis; and
  • $14.24 million for potential invasive pest emergencies such as Asian Gypsy Moth, European Cherry Fruit Fly, Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, Spotted Lanternfly or the detection of any newly introduced exotic pest  that is of “high economic consequence” anywhere in the U.S.
  • $6 million for a program to provides “clean plant” materials for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus and sweet potatoes.