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(WASHINGTON, D.C.)-- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray applauded an announcement from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack awarding $5 million to support 19 projects under the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) with funding secured in the Agriculture Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill).  NCPN-funded facilities ensure nurseries can provide safe, virus-free plant materials to orchards, vineyards, and other growers.  Studies have shown that the cost of continued research to improve detection and eradication of viruses is significantly less than the potential millions of dollars it would cost to eradicate a virus in an established vineyard, orchard or farm.  Specifically, the Clean Plant Center Northwest based at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser will receive $1.25 million for their ongoing work to benefit tree fruit, grape and hops growers in Washington state.

Senator Murray was instrumental in creating the NCPN, which brings together scientists, researchers, nurseries and growers to support U.S. specialty crop production at WSU-Prosser and throughout the nation.

“In Washington state, our vineyards and orchards are the economic backbone of many communities,” Senator Murray said. “I was proud to fight to secure this critical funding in the 2014 Farm Bill and help WSU-Prosser continue to protect our farms from viruses that can decimate crops and sink local economies.”

Breakdown of the funding:

  • Washington State University – Clean Plant Center Northwest – Fruit Trees: $719,000
  • Washington State University – Clean Plant Center Northwest – Grapes: $343,000
  • Washington State University – Clean Plant Center Northwest – Hops: $203,000