The executive leaders of three of California’s statewide wine organizations sent a letter last week to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging full funding of European Grapevine Moth (EGVM) eradication efforts for 2013. The letter request for $6.5 million in USDA funding was made by John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), Bobby Koch, president and CEO of the Wine Institute, and Paul Kronenberg, president of the Family Winemakers of California.
In the letter, the three leaders stated, “Underfunding eradication efforts this year will result in substantially more being paid in the long run to fund control activities and the prospect of serious, sustained damage to winegrape crops will hurt growers and wineries alike, greatly harming California’s economy.”
Last fall, a Technical Working Group of international and domestic experts convened by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS PPQ) released a recommended eradication plan for 2013 that costs $8.2 million to implement. Officials with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have expressed their willingness to contribute $1.7 million toward that eradication plan, leaving a balance of $6.5 million for USDA to fund.
In 2010, USDA and CDFA imposed a regulatory EGVM quarantine affecting 2,334 square miles in California. Since then, a comprehensive, science-based eradication program has substantially diminished populations of EGVM. As a result, quarantine restrictions were lifted last year in seven counties, plus parts of Sonoma and Solano counties. Noting the success of eradication efforts, the three wine groups commented in their letter to Vilsack, “We hope you agree with us that $6.5 million in FY 2013 to fund continued eradication activities for EGVM is a high priority and fully merited by the program’s success.”
CAWG represents the growers of more than 60 percent of the gross grape tonnage crushed for wine and concentrate in California. The statewide association provides industry leadership to advocate for public policies, research and education programs, sustainable farming practices and trade positions to enhance the business of growing California winegrapes. For more information about CAWG, visit their website at www.cawg.org.
Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the association of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses that initiate and advocate state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. For more information about the Wine Institute, visit their website at www.wineinstitute.org.
Family Winemakers of California was founded in 1991 to give voice and presence to small, family wineries in the public policy arena. For more information about the Family Winemakers of California, visit their website at familywinemakers.org/index.cfm