Language directing the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prioritize ways to combat stink bugs is included in an annual spending bill moving through Congress, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime leader on this issue.
The report language in the FY 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill directs four agencies within the USDA to continue their efforts in researching ways to minimize the damage stink bugs have on crops in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The language also directs the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to assist with implementing biological control technology to minimize the pests once it is developed.
The bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee today and will head to the full House later this month.
Wolf has been a leader in the effort to combat stink bugs for years, and included similar language in past spending bills.
"Whether you have a home herb garden or acres of farm land, we can all agree that the pervasive problem of stink bug infestation needs to be tackled head-on," Wolf said. "The apple industry in the Mid-Atlantic states has lost tens of millions of dollars to these pests, and they threaten the vineyards that are an important part of Virginia's economy. Recent media outlets are reporting that this season will be the worst yet. This language is a step in the right direction to research ways to control stink bugs, protect our crops and preserve the local economy."