During the 2014 Farm Bill Congress authorized the Plant Pest & Disease and Disaster Management Program and National Clean Plant Network (Section 10007, P.L. 113-79), a highly successful & collaborative biological program to help combat threats posed to U.S. agriculture by numerous invasive plant pests and diseases. Congress mandated that the program funds be targeted to “early plant pest detection and surveillance” activities “undertaken to find newly introduced plant pests before—
- the plant pests become established; or
- the plant pest infestations become too large and costly to eradicate or control.
Congress Mandated Wise, Scientific Use of Funds
So that the limited resources will be wisely spent, Congress enacted “Special Funding Considerations” that must be considered. They include:
- a State that has a high risk of being affected by 1 or more plant pests or diseases, taking into consideration—
- the number of international ports of entry in the State;
- the volume of international passenger and cargo entry into the State;
- the geographic location of the State and if the location or types of agricultural commodities produced in the State are conducive to agricultural pest and disease establishment due to the climate, crop diversity, or natural resources (including unique plant species) of the State; and
- whether the Secretary has determined that an agricultural pest or disease in the State is a Federal concern ; and
- the early plant pest detection and surveillance activities supported with the funds will likely—
- prevent the introduction and establishment of plant pests; and
- provide a comprehensive approach to compliment Federal detection efforts.
Chart 1 below shows total authorization levels for each fiscal year 2014-2018 for the Plant Pest & Disease and Disaster Management Program and National Clean Plant Network.
Program For FY 2018
Each year the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) solicits project suggestions from States and U.S. Territories, universities, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private companies and Tribal organizations. This year, APHIS received 791 project suggestions. All suggestions received by APHIS undergo a comprehensive review process conducted by representatives from fellow USDA agencies, State partners and external stakeholders.
On March 22, APHIS announced the allocation $63.55 million in funding to support 466 projects across the U.S. under the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Program. 28 projects under the National Clean Plant Network totaling $6.05 million were also funded.
In addition to these allocations, APHIS was subject to sequestration of nearly $5 million of program funds.
APHIS is to be commended for maintaining administrative costs under 10% of total program funding for FY 2018. This ensures congressional funding actually reaches State and local partners so they may effectively respond to emerging plant health situations throughout the year.
Charts 2 and 3 below show the total number of suggestions received by APHIS in each fiscal year 2014-2018 and the total number of projects actually funded and total amounts.
The funding breakdown for FY 2018 is as follows:
Section 10007 authorizes: $75,000,000
6.6% Sequester: $4,950,000
Plant Pest & Disease Prevention: $63,550,000
- Goal 1 – 6 Projects $48,728,548
- Rapid Response $14,238,558
- Salary, Printing, Travel $582,894 1 %
National Clean Plant Network: $6,500,000
- Projects $6,050,000
- Salary, Printing, Travel $450,000 7.4%
2018 Farm Bill
Congress is currently debating the 2018 Farm Bill. Given the success of this biological program and widespread, bipartisan support of the Plant Pest & Disease and Disaster Management Program and National Clean Plant Network Congress is expected to continue the program through FY 2023.
In the 2014 Farm Bill Congress included language, “and thereafter.” at the end of the funding section of the statute, namely Sec 420 of the Plant Protection Act by increasing the amount to “$75 million for FY 2018 and each year thereafter.”.
The “and thereafter” clause makes the Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention and National Clean Plant Network program permanent law. To date, Congress has not offered any substantive programmatic changes to the program, nor is there a serious effort to repeal the program.
The charts below illustrate program funding for the Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention and National Clean Plant Network program through the 5-year authorization of the current (2014) Farm Bill, FY’s 2014-2018.