From Plains Cotton Growers
Texas H.B. 2089 has been signed by Governor Greg Abbott and will be enacted beginning September 1, 2021. The bill provides up to $500,000 in funding over the next Texas biennium for early detection of foreign plant pests and diseases, including but not limited to Race 4 Fusarium wilt (FOV4) which is currently present in the El Paso region.
With this legislation now established, an early plant pest and disease detection and mitigation system through cooperative agreements with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and institutions of higher education will address a full range of activities, including field inspections for early detection before invasive species become established or become too large and costly to eradicate or control.
Early detection of plant pests and disease will allow for early containment to slow the spread of an invasive organism or species, which will allow for timely biological control methods, research and development of resistant seed varieties, and the ability to identify the best management practices before it becomes more widespread in the state.
Another important issue that PCG was actively advocating for this Legislative Session was full funding for the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF). TBWEF funding was originally removed from the budget for the next biennium, however due to efforts from PCG and many other interested groups, $9.7 million was restored to continue the active eradication effort in the lower Rio Grande Valley area in Texas. In addition to active eradication efforts in the areas where the boll weevil is still present, TBWEF continues to monitor the rest of Texas through trapping grids, in order to detect and prevent any possible reinfestation.
For more information on the eradication efforts in Texas visit https://www.txbollweevil.org.