Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
April is National Plant Pest Awareness Month, which is intended to educate the public about the threat that certain insects, plant diseases and weeds pose to crops, forests and the environment.
The NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division works with federal agencies and other states to protect North Carolina agriculture and the environment from plant pests. North Carolina has federal quarantines for four invasive plant pests: witchweed, the emerald ash borer, the European gypsy moth and the imported fire ant.
Quarantines are one of the tools the department uses to prevent or slow the spread of plant pests. Quarantines typically mean that you must obtain a permit before moving certain plants or plant materials to areas that are not under quarantine.
Plant pests can spread in various ways. They can hitchhike from one place to another on firewood, hay bales, plants, outdoor gear, trucks and other vehicles, and even in luggage.
Invasive pests are considered the second-greatest threat to biological diversity after habitat loss. If plant pests become established in a state, they increase food and fiber costs. They also can increase pesticide use and damage native species of plants and animals, forests, watersheds, lakes and rivers.
What can you do to help? Well, if you are traveling to another state or country, do not bring back any fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, plants or other natural items unless they have been cleared by appropriate officials. Cooperating with customs officials and others who are watching for invasive pests is the best way to help keep the unwanted pests from entering the country or crossing state lines.
For more information about plant pests and how to prevent their spread, click here.
Click on the link below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss Plant Pest Awareness Month.
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