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WSSA Issues Strong Appeal to USDA for Restoration of Funding for Weed Science
Date:5/13/2010

organically produced food, farmers need new and effective tactics for managing weeds without herbicides. An over-reliance on cultivation alone can increase soil erosion, reduce soil quality and increase energy consumption.
  • Climate change. As weed species respond to our changing climate, new management tactics are needed to protect food supplies and to sustain both fiber and fuel production.
  • Protection of water supplies. Unchecked invasive weeds continue to threaten the wetlands and waterways that are vital to our potable water supply, hydroelectric power, flood control, conservation and endangered species restoration.
  • The letter from the societies also highlights recent reports from the National Academy of Sciences and the USDA itself that underline the critical need for weed science research.*

    “Weed scientists are mystified and disappointed by USDA’s decision,” Jachetta said. “If officials consider weed management a solved problem, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, well over half of all pest-related crop losses can be attributed to weeds. Abandoning our commitment to weed science at a time when our weed management challenges are growing is a potent recipe for a crisis of national proportions.”

    WSSA appealed to USDA to make three changes:

    1. Add a Foundational program within the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to address weedy plant biology, ecology and management, similar to those focused on phytopathology and entomology.

    2. Reconfigure larger AFRI research programs to encompass the full breadth of the agricultural sciences. Currently, program objectives are written so narrowly as to exclude not only weed science, but many other important areas of study.

    3. Restore funding for integrated activities under the Section 406 Legislative Authority. Section 406 supports integrated weed management resear
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