Farmers, vintners, and homeowners could benefit from provisions in a bill moving through the House that would make fighting the brown marmorated stink bug infestation a greater priority for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).
Wolf worked with Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee chairman Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) to include new directives for the USDA undersecretary of research in the FY 2012 spending bill approved by the full Appropriations Committee on May 31. The new provisions specifically direct the four research agencies of the USDA to identify and develop effective stink bug control methods.
“The committee felt that the USDA was not working aggressively enough to find a solution to this critical problem,” said Wolf. “We’ve now worked to single out the stink bug problem as one of the top priorities for all research agencies at the department.”
Another key provision instructs the USDA to work collaboratively with state partners to identify and implement controls for stink bug invasions.
The bill is pending consideration by the full House, expected later this month.
Stopping the destructive brown marmorated stink bug – whose influx some have likened to a plague of locusts – has been a top priority for Wolf, who has held a town hall meeting in his district so that scientists and experts could share ideas for control methods with local farmers and growers.
“I’ve seen first-hand the damage that stink bugs are causing to local fruit and vegetable growers and we have to do something to mitigate the economic damage caused by these pests,” said Wolf. “I hope this legislation will make this problem the top priority for USDA research agencies.”