U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is lauding a U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement that California will receive nearly $13.4 million from the 2008 farm bill to improve agricultural pest detection and surveillance programs.

Sen. Boxer introduced the Pest Detection and Surveillance Act in 2007 and successfully negotiated its key provisions into the 2008 farm bill.

“I’m very pleased the USDA is carrying out legislation I introduced that became part of the farm bill.” Sen. Boxer said. “I proposed this legislation to help catch pest and disease infestations early at our ports of entry before they spread to our fields and orchards, hurting our farmers and our economy.”

The 2008 farm bill provision gave USDA the authority to enter into cooperative funding agreements with states to enhance pest detection and surveillance programs. The provision authorizes efforts including increased inspections at domestic points of entry, pest trapping systems, and pest eradication and prevention programs.

The farm law authorized an investment of $200 million over five years in these programs. The USDA allocated $45 million of the funding nationwide. USDA estimates the spending could help save or create up to 400 jobs nationwide.

The provision was modeled after the USDA/State Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey program which helps to detect pests before they can become established.

Early pest detection efforts are supported by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), United Fresh Produce Association, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House.