Sacramento, Calif., May 9, 2007 – California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary A.G. Kawamura has approved the Pierce’s Disease/Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (PD/GWSS) Board’s recent recommendations to fund 14 PD-related research projects beginning in 2007/2008.
Just over $2 million will go to the 14 projects which were selected from a field of 49 projects submitted for consideration.
“While all of the research proposals were very good, we are narrowing the focus of our funding to projects that fill in the gap in what we don’t understand with research that is targeted instead of broad spectrum in scope,” said Steve McIntyre, chairman of the research screening committee for the PD/GWSS Board and a winegrape grower in Monterey.
With this new funding, the PD/GWSS assessment has funded just over $16 million in research projects to date. “I believe that we are winning the battle against the PD/GWSS threat,” said Ben Drake, chairman of the PD/GWSS Board and a winegrape grower from Temecula. “Already, research has given growers ways to help manage the PD/GWSS threat, but more are still needed.”
As part of the ongoing research efforts, the CDFA’s Pierce’s Disease Control Program organizes an annual PD Research Symposium. The 321-page proceedings for the 2006 Symposium is available online from the CDFA Web site at www.cdfa.ca.gov/gwss/.
The PD/GWSS Board was established in July 2001 to support scientific research to find a cure for Pierce’s disease. An annual assessment paid by winegrape growers supports its research efforts. The PD/GWSS Board also advises the California Department of Food and Agriculture on a variety of other issues pertaining to Pierce’s disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter.
The work of the Board is underlined by the fact that Pierce’s disease has no known cure and, left unchecked, could be devastating to the grape industry and several other California crops. A study released in 2006 by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers showed that the total annual economic impact of California’s winegrape industry is estimated at $51.8 billion.