USDA Sending Funds to Florida to Help Lettuce Against Bacteria

At the end of last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is sending funds to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to help specialty crops.

The USDA is sending $9.5 million to 11 projects across the nation including $850,816 to the FDACS to “support research related to improvements in lettuce resistance to Bacterial Leaf Spot (BLS), funded through the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program (SCMP).”

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried weighed in on the funds on Friday.

“As the nation’s second-largest producer of specialty crops with a year-round growing season, Florida is an ideal environment for agricultural research and innovation,” said Fried. “This funding is particularly important with Florida-grown lettuce facing losses up to 75 percent due to COVID-19. We look forward to working with state and federal partners to eradicate pathogens and diseases that threaten our valued agriculture commodities.”

“U.S. lettuce production is estimated at nearly $1.9 billion, making lettuce one of the leading vegetable crops in the nation. The funding awarded to FDACS is in partnership with the University of Florida, the Pennsylvania State University, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The research will study disease resistance and diversity to improve lettuce cultivars against BLS through breeding, genetics, and study of the BLS-lettuce interaction,” the FDACS noted.


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