State of­fi­cials award $100K to help fight mush­room flies

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - Staff Re­port

NEW GAR­DEN >> State Sen. Andy Din­ni­man, D-19, of West White­land, re­cently an­nounced that the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture ap­proved $100,000 in re­search grant fund­ing to study ways to con­trol and com­bat the Phorid fly in­fes­ta­tion that has wreaked havoc on mush­room farms and res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties in south­ern Ch­ester County.

“These flies con­tinue to be a se­ri­ous is­sue for both res­i­dents and farm­ers in Ch­ester County and I am com­mit­ted to find­ing a so­lu­tion,” Din­ni­man, who serves on the Se­nate Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, said. “This grant fund­ing is a step for­ward in work­ing to find new ways to ef­fec­tively con­trol and com­bat these pests.”

The fund­ing will go to the Penn State Col­lege of Agri­cul­tural Sci­ences to study the ecol­ogy and con­trol of Phorid fly in­fes­ta­tions on mush­room farms and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

The grant fund­ing was the re­sult of a meet­ing Din­ni­man held ear­lier this year with res­i­dents of Har­ro­gate North, lead­ers of other com­mu­ni­ties im­pacted by the flies, and ex­perts from Penn State and Amer­i­can Mush­room In­sti­tute’s (AMI) In­te­grated Pest Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee.

Din­ni­man has led the ef­fort to ad­dress the in­fes­ta­tion of tiny in­sects that have plagued dozens of home­own­ers and res­i­dents in New Gar­den and nearby ar­eas. Ear­lier this month, he held a town hall meet­ing with lo­cal res­i­dents and mush­room farm­ers and com­posters to dis­cuss and co­or­di­nate on­go­ing ef­forts to ad­dress the prob­lem.

“This is an is­sue that neg­a­tively im­pacts both the qual­ity of life of lo­cal res­i­dents and the crop yields of neigh­bor­ing mush­room farm­ers,” he said. “There has got to be a way we can work to­gether to elim­i­nate this fly for the bet­ter­ment of the en­tire com­mu­nity.”

In ad­di­tion, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture also ap­proved $77,000 in re­search grant fund­ing for the AMI to study the ben­e­fi­cial uses of mush­room com­post.

These two grants were part of nine projects statewide ap­proved for more than $600,000 in to­tal

fund­ing to im­prove the Penn­syl­va­nia agri­cul­tural in­dus­try’s un­der­stand­ing of press­ing chal­lenges and promis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Pro­pos­als were eval­u­ated and scored on a num­ber of fac­tors, in­clud­ing the strength of its needs state­ment, the po­ten­tial im­pact of out­comes, method­ol­ogy, eval­u­a­tion and repli­ca­bil­ity,

and in­dus­try sup­port and par­tic­i­pa­tion.

In ad­di­tion, the Amer­i­can Mush­room In­sti­tute will re­ceive $50,000 in fed­eral fund­ing to bring the Mush­room Good Agri­cul­tural Prac­tices (MGAP) pro­gram into com­pli­ance with the Food Safety Mod­ern­iza­tion Act (FSMA) pro­duce rule and stan­dard bench­marked un­der the Global Food Safety Ini­tia­tive (GFSI) rec­og­nized au­dit­ing pro­grams.

That grant fund­ing comes through the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Spe­cialty Crop Block Grant Pro­gram, au­tho­rized un­der the 2014 Farm Bill. Grant re­cip­i­ents are se­lected by the Penn­syl­va­nia Spe­cialty Crop Ad­vi­sory Board, ap­proved by the Penn­syl­va­nia Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture, and then ap­proved by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Agri­cul­tural Mar­ket­ing Ser­vice.

A phorid fly.

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