The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is offering voluntary, environmentally-friendly control options to farmers near confirmed trappings of the European grapevine moth (EGVM).

One million dollars has been set aside by NRCS to assist grape farmers with Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

So far EGVM has been found in Fresno, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. EGVM was first discovered in Napa County in September 2009.

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and California's Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) are the federal and state agencies respectively charged with protecting the nation and the state from foreign pests such as EGVM.

APHIS, CDFA, and local agriculture commissioners are implementing intense trapping and monitoring. CDFA has implemented an interior quarantine for intrastate movement. APHIS anticipates the release of a federal order that will provide them with guidelines for moving products from quarantined areas.

"Our intention is to complement the efforts of our partners at CDFA and USDA APHIS who have both the expertise and authority for overseeing infestations of EGVM," said Ed Burton, state conservationist for NRCS. "We will provide some very targeted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tools to farmers who are growing grapes in close vicinity to trapped moths."

Burton says NRCS is providing funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to offer eligible farmers approximately half of the costs of IPM methods. These are consistent with strategies developed and approved for use over the past five years by NRCS and the University of California Cooperative Extension Service.

"Securing this assistance for our farmers is critical to protecting our grape industry and the economic benefits it provides to our Valley and state," said Congressman Jim Costa. "Without fast action, the moths could spread and result in significant crop losses. These funds will allow our farmers to fight these moths in time for the summer harvest."

To make the most efficient use of limited funds, highest priority will be given to helping grape growers with vineyards that lie within 400 meters of a confirmed trapping of the EGVM in Fresno, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

Second priority will be given to treat vineyards that are between 400-1,000 meters of a moth trapped in all quarantined counties except Napa (Fresno, Mendocino, Merced, Solano, and Sonoma).

As a third priority, pheromone mating disruption will be available to eligible grape growers in Napa County, where officials are overseeing treatment of EGVM within county borders and report excellent cooperation by vineyard growers.

Applications will be taken at NRCS offices in the affected counties until June 23, 2010.

Additional information on EGVM is available from APHIS at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/eg_moth/index.shtml and from CDFA at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/egvm/index.html.