WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that universities in seven states will receive $1.1 million to study the economic implications of preventing, controlling or eradicating invasive pests and diseases.

"The control of invasive plant pests and foreign animal diseases is a major priority in protecting our environment and agricultural sector," said Johanns. "This research will help identify effective strategies for preventing the introduction of invasive species and managing their presence."

The agreements announced today will provide funding to universities in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.

Among the subjects these projects will examine are:

  • development of decision support systems to help public and private land managers identify priorities, and select efficient prevention, detection, and control strategies;

  • benefits and costs of strategies to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer in Michigan and Ohio;

  • benefits and costs of policy options to manage animal diseases that spread between livestock and wildlife, accounting for ecological and economic factors;

  • economic effectiveness of mitigation strategies against avian influenza in the poultry industry, including prevention and response;

  • economic and trade effects on U.S. and global livestock markets of animal disease outbreaks and of individual and multi-country responses.

  • The complete list of awards is online.

    These research projects are competitively awarded by the Program of Research on the Economics of Invasive Species Management, administered by USDA's Economic Research Service. PREISM studies will provide analytically based principles, guidelines, and criteria for invasive species policy and program decision making, as well as the economic information, modeling systems, or other tools that support the decision making. More information about these projects is online.

    SOURCE: USDA news release.