February 11, 2009

ASA receives USDA continual funding for rust monitoring

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomes the USDA announcement to continue funding the Asian Soybean Rust Pest Information Platform for Education and Extension (PIPE).


ASA has been working with USDA and Congress to secure federal funding for PIPE because the system helps protect the US soy crop valued at more than US$30 billion and saves soy producers millions of dollars annually.


ASA Chairman John Hoffman said the association is pleased that USDA will be providing over US$750,000 in funding for the soy rust sentinel plot and diagnostic network in FY09.


Hoffman said the funds will be leveraged with approximately US$500,000 in federal and state checkoff investments and available state funding to maintain a scaled-down soy rust sentinel plot and diagnostic network.


He believed an increased funding amount should be made part of USDA's regular budget for FY2010 and subsequent years.


He added that the threat and reality of soy rust is not going to go away, so a long-term funding pipeline is needed for this important program.


He said approval of these 2009 funds follows ASA efforts to secure continued USDA funding for the system after Congress failed to complete and pass an agriculture appropriations bill in the last Congress.


He also said ASA is urging USDA to increase and make permanent funding for this program for 2010 and beyond.


Soy rust was first discovered in the US in 2005, and has spread each year to key soy producing regions.


As a result of ASA's successful advocacy efforts, PIPE has been funded with more than US$2 million of federal money for each of the last four years.


PIPE is a coordinated framework that has been highly effective in helping growers make informed decisions about fungicide application.

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