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MDA & USDA remind Montanans of Dangers of Invasive Pests

MDA & USDA remind Montanans of Dangers of Invasive Pests

April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are reminding Montanans about the dangers of invasive pests during the month of April, which has been designated as “Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month.” Each year, harmful invasive plant pests and diseases cost the United States about $40 billion in crop losses, damage to forests and vulnerable ecosystems, and expensive eradication and control efforts.

“In a state like Montana, where agriculture is the backbone of our economy, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of invasive plants and pests,” said MDA Director, Ben Thomas. “As individuals, we can help combat the problem by reporting any signs of invasives and by taking steps to reduce the risk of transferring these pests.”

Montanans can take some simple steps to keep invasive pests from spreading:

  • Spring is a busy time for buying plants. Buy yours from reputable nurseries or online businesses.
  • When traveling, check with your local USDA office before you bring back fruits, vegetables or plants so you know what’s allowed.
  • When enjoying the great outdoors, don’t move untreated firewood. Instead, buy or gather firewood near the place you’ll burn it.
  • Make sure to clean outdoor items before moving them. Wash dirt from outdoor gear and tires before traveling long distances to and from fishing, hunting or camping trips.
  • Report any signs of invasive pests by going to www.hungrypests.com.

To learn more, visit www.HungryPests.com. The website includes photos and descriptions of 19 invasive pests that can be moved easily by people, an online federal quarantine tracker by state, and phone numbers for reporting signs of invasive pests. Questions? Visit www.aphis.usda.gov/planthealth/sphd to find contact information for your local USDA office.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.

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