U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced $2.7 million in federal funding for vital agriculture research being conducted at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers University. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is funding the research by NJAES to address an invasive species that has devastated crops in New Jersey and throughout Mid-Altantic and Southern states.
"Invasive pests are a threat to the agriculture industry in New Jersey and across the country, and have the potential to wipe out entire crops and inflict serious economic damage. Rutgers is a leader in the fight against invasive species and their work will protect our state's agriculture industry," said Senator Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds this grant program. "I will continue working to provide funding for important research that protects the environment and strengthens our agriculture economy."
"As one of the major producers of fresh produce, New Jersey's economic growth and health depends on the prosperity of its agriculture sector. Our farmers need access to the most effective techniques to eliminate invasive species that threaten their production level, as well as the quality of their products," said Senator Menendez. "With this funding, Rutgers will be able to research the best ways to guarantee New Jersey growers can continue delivering the fresh, first rate vegetable and fruits that distinguish the Garden State."
The Rutgers researchers will use the $2,672,327 federal grant to develop organic methods of eliminating the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), an invasive insect causing severe economic loss in Mid-Atlantic and Southern states. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an estimated $21 billion worth of crops are at risk where stink bugs have been detected. Since the accidental introduction of the stink bug to the U.S. from Asia in 1996, Rutgers NJAES Pest Management Teams have been tracking, studying, and formulating management plans to combat this pest.