Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the availability of more than $15 million in Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funds to prevent the spread of the light brown apple moth in California and to protect other states.

USDA, in coordination with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, confirmed the presence of the light brown apple moth in Alameda County, Calif., on March 22. This was the first detection of the pest on the U.S. mainland. Since the initial detection, the light brown apple moth now has been identified in 11 California counties.

"We are aggressively working to stop the spread of this moth, in partnership with states, mindful that it can cause significant damage to many different crops," Johanns said. "These additional funds will help control the pest and protect the Nation's vital agricultural industry."

Since the initial detection, USDA and CDFA have conducted an aggressive campaign of surveillance, trapping and treatment. The new emergency funding will be used to continue and expand these activities.

The light brown apple moth is native to Australia and also is found in New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The host range for this insect is broad and it is known to attack more than 250 plant species. Major domestic agricultural crops affected by the light brown apple moth include fruit, vegetables and nursery stock.