Press Releases


Agency: United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Programs

Project Title: Applied Agriculture and Environmental Research, CA
Recipient:  California State University, Fresno Foundation
Location:  4910 North Chestnut Avenue, Fresno, CA, 93726
Amount Requested:  $1,000,000

The California State University Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI) funds competitive research on high-priority issues challenging the nation’s agriculture industry, the environment, and consumer health and safety.  Federal investment is warranted because all research results are made available in the public domain, open to use by farmers and producers nationwide to improve agricultural practices.

The ARI leverages a minimal federal investment to secure state and industry resources.  Last fiscal year, with a budget of approximately $10 million, including less than $1 million in federal funding, ARI funded 84 research projects, covering such diverse matters as environmentally sustainable water systems, reducing chemical use on rice with improved biological controls, biofuels research, and reducing ammonia emissions from fertilizers and dairy production to decrease agriculture’s impact on air quality.

This year, the program’s priorities include projects addressing key issues such as climate change, air quality, and carbon sequestration; food safety; water quality and infrastructure; and invasive species prevention and eradication.  The ARI program operates at several California State University campuses, including Fresno State, Chico State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Cal Poly Pomona.


Project Title:  California County Pest Detection Augmentation Program
Recipient:  California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association
Location:  142 Garden Highway, Yuba City, CA  95991-5512
Amount Requested: $1,350,000

The Federal government provides agricultural inspections along California’s border and ports of entry – a vital safeguard against serious agricultural and environmental invasive pests.  The California County Pest Detection Augmentation Program is a statewide network of insect traps and other detection tools that serves to complement and enhance the federal inspection process, by providing additional safeguards.  These traps have resulted in the discovery of 82 total species of new pests, including the Asian Citrus Psyllid, a vector for Huanglongbing Disease, which has already decimated Florida’s citrus industry, preventing significant financial burden for California’s agricultural industry.

California produces more than half of the nation’s fruit, nuts and vegetables,.  Protecting the State’s agricultural base is critical to ensuring the safety of this vital national food source and protecting agriculture across the country from invasive pests. Federal funding is used to leverage state and local resources, and is warranted because any new non-native pests detected and destroyed in California are less likely to establish themselves in other states.


Project Title:  Fresh Produce Food Safety Research
Recipient:  University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Location:  1111 Franklin Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200
Amount Requested:  $2,000,000

The Fresh Produce Food Safety Research program is a competitive research program to study the sources and causes of food-borne illnesses.  This research deserves federal investment because consumer confidence in fresh produce is critical; these foods are essential to achieving national nutrition enhancement and obesity-reduction goals, and contribute significant economic benefits to the nation.

The University of California manages this funding, administering a statewide competition for research related to food contamination, particularly microbial contaminants affecting leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables.  Recent incidents of E. coli, salmonella, and other microbial contaminants, resulting in serious illnesses and several deaths, highlight the need for this research.  The tools discovered through this important research program have the potential to significantly reduce the risk of contracting food-borne illness.


Project Title:  Pierce’s Disease and Invasive Pest Research, CA
Recipient:  University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Location: 1111 Franklin Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200
Amount Requested:  $3,000,000

California bears the brunt of the damage caused by invasive pests and diseases entering the U.S., due to its international border, multiple ports of entry, and the nation’s most productive agricultural industry.  Pierce’s Disease is a terminal infection for grapevines, carried by the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter.  This competitive and peer-reviewed research program builds upon a successful record of past applied research accomplishments to find a long-term solution to Pierce’s Disease.  This important research deserves federal support as it can benefit agricultural producers nationwide, providing them with eradication and control methods should any of the pests become established in other states.

Expanded research will focus on other invasive species impacting California and the nation, including pathogens (West Nile virus, avian and swine influenza, Sudden Oak Death), insects (vine mealy bug, light brown apple moth), marine and fresh water species (Quagga and zebra mussels), and weed species (yellow star thistle).


Project Title:  Water Management Research Laboratory, Brawley, CA
Recipient: Agricultural Research Service (USDA)
Location: 4151 Highway 86, Brawley, CA  92227
Amount Requested:  $340,000

Due to its location in the desert environment of the Imperial Valley, scientists at the Water Management Research Laboratory are able to conduct unique research on water management, irrigation techniques, soil salinity, salt-tolerant crop production and pest management.  Innovations learned at the Brawley Agricultural Research Station are vitally important to the Southwest and other parts of the country where water is or will be scarce and high salinity makes the soil unproductive.

The Imperial Valley is unique because the salinity in this area is significant in both the soil and water.  These conditions do not exist at any other federal agricultural research facility, making this project critical in a region where farming and ranching are paramount drivers of the economy.  The federal research being conducted at this facility has the potential to provide solutions to nationwide problems such as water pollution, salinity, and water management, particularly in water-scarce regions.  This program is managed by the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service.


Rural Development Programs

Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas
Recipient:  National Center for Appropriate Technology
Location:  3040 Continental Dr., Butte, MT 59701
Amount Requested:   $2,800,000

The Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas and National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service were reauthorized for funding by the 2008 Farm Bill (P.L. 110-246, section 6016).  This is a unique technical assistance service provided through a public/private partnership and a cooperative agreement between USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service and the National Center for Appropriate Technology, a national nonprofit organization.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service provides information and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers through a toll free telephone service and a website (800-346-9140 in English, 800-411-3222 in Spanish, and  This service is one of the most effective tools America’s farmers have to learn about best practices for pest management, irrigation, reducing pesticide use, water quality protection, and farm-based renewable energy.  As the only national program to provide one-on-one technical assistance on sustainable agriculture and marketing in all 50 states, this program warrants federal investment.  The organization’s staff includes highly qualified individuals representing a broad spectrum of agricultural disciplines including horticulture, agronomy, animal science, agriculture economics and marketing.