SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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LIVESTOCK AND HORTICULTURE
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 22, 2000, RUTHERFORD, CA
Serial No. 10644
Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture
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LARRY COMBEST, Texas Chairman
BILL BARRETT, Nebraska,
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
NICK SMITH, Michigan
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
HELEN CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
KEN CALVERT, California
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
BOB RILEY, Alabama
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
DOUG OSE, California
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ERNIE FLETCHER, Kentucky
CHARLES W. STENHOLM, Texas,
Ranking Minority Member
GARY A. CONDIT, California
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
EVA M. CLAYTON, North Carolina
DAVID MINGE, Minnesota
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
SANFORD D. BISHOP, Jr., Georgia
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
CHRISTOPHER JOHN, Louisiana
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
DAVID D. PHELPS, Illinois
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCKEN LUCAS, Kentucky
MIKE THOMPSON, California
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOE BACA, California
WILLIAM E. O'CONNER, JR., Staff Director
LANCE KOTSCHWAR, Chief Counsel
STEPHEN HATERIUS, Minority Staff Director
KEITH WILLIAMS, Communications Director
Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture
RICHARD W. POMBO, California, Chairman
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio,
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
HELEN CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
KEN CALVERT, California
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBOB RILEY, Alabama
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota,
Ranking Minority Member
TIM HOLDEN, California
GARY A. CONDIT, Pennsylvania
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
DEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
KEN LUCAS, Kentucky
C O N T E N T S
Bono, Hon. Mary, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, submitted statement
Calvert, Hon. Ken, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, opening statement
Pombo, Hon. Richard W., a Representative in Congress from the State of California, opening statement
Radanovich, Hon. George, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, opening statement
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thompson, Hon. Mike, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, opening statement
Woolsey, Hon. Lynn C., a Representative in Congress from the State of California, opening statement
Blua, Matthew J., research associate, University of California, Riverside
DeLuca, John, president, the Wine Institute
Figueroa, Enrique E., Deputy Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Gleeson, Patrick, executive director, American Vineyard Foundation
Kamas, James S., assistant professor, extension fruit specialist, Texas Agricultural Extension Service
Lyons, William J., secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Opatz, Peter, director of viticulture, Clos du Bois Vineyard and Winery
Pacheco, Rod, member, 64th district, California Assembly
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pauli, William, president, California Farm Bureau,
Ross, Karen, president, California Association of Winegrape Growers
Weaver, Craig A., vineyard manager, Callaway Vineyard & Winery
California Grape & Tree Fruit League, statement
Young, Bob, Russian River Chamber of Commerce, statement
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2000
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture,
Committee on Agriculture,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:12 a.m., at the St. Supery Vineyards, Rutherford, CA, Hon. Richard W. Pombo (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Calvert and Thompson of California.
Also present: Representatives Radanovich and Woolsey.
Staff present: Christopher R. D'Arcy, subcommittee staff director; Brent Gattis, legislative assistant; and Danelle Farmer, minority consultant.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD W. POMBO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Good morning. The hearing of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture will come to order.
Today, the committee will exercise its oversight jurisdiction with regard to issues concerning the recent and severe outbreak of Pierce's disease here in California. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our host, Representative Mike Thompson, in whose congressional district we are this morning, as well as my other colleagues present. I am grateful for their interest in this important matter.
Grape and wine production has long been recognized as one of the shining examples of California agriculture. Nearly 90 percent of America's wine is produced here in this State, where it generates about 112,000 jobs annually, with an additional 40,000 to 50,000 during harvest time. Our vineyards and wineries attract roughly 10 million visitors annually, bringing with them important revenue and economic development. Pierce's disease represents a serious and substantial threat to this thriving agricultural sector, and although winegrapes are suffering the most, we must also understand that Pierce's disease also places citrus, stone fruits and almonds at risk.
My purpose today is to focus attention on this problem, find solutions, and to assist in any way that we can. At the start of the 106th Congress, this subcommittee's jurisdiction was expanded to include fruits and vegetables. It is clear to me that harmful pests and species represent a serious threat to that sector of American agriculture. As the House Agriculture Committee anticipates the next farm bill, and as we prepare to consider legislation, such as the Plant Protection Act, I felt that the committee needed to look closely at these matters. I hope that we can determine how to better combat this growing problem in an era of increased and expanded agricultural trade between the United States and an increasing number of countries.
Pierce's disease, as well as other harmful diseases and species, are dealt with under a patchwork of Federal and State laws and regulations administered by a wide variety of Federal agencies, most importantly being APHIS. I believe that it is crucial that the various agencies of Federal, State and local government work together, especially in an area of tight budgets, to ensure that all money is spent wisely, avoiding a duplication of effort, and that relevant scientific information is shared.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In a search for answers and solutions, I want to establish a meaningful dialogue involving Federal and State governments, growers, the Farm Bureau, retailers, and everyone in-between, to ensure that we do all we can to, first, control, and then eradicate this threat. The testimony that we will receive today helps me and my colleagues to better understand your work and to assist you in the fight to control and eradicate this disease. I welcome all of our witnesses and guests here this morning, and I look forward to today's testimony.
I would like to first recognize Mr. Thompson for any opening comments he would like to make.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MIKE THOMPSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I really appreciate the fact that you're here, and I really appreciate the leadership that you've shown on this particular issue. It's critical, not only to my district, here in the Napa Valley and Lake County and Sonoma County and Mendocino County, but also to the entire grape-growing regions of California. You've been great.
I want everybody to know that it's highly irregular for a subcommittee to come out to anybody's district and have this type of participation by Members of Congress. So what you see today is a real commitment to address what I think could be, and is, in some areas, already, a very serious issue. The glassy-winged sharpshooter, I don't believe, is in the First Congressional District right now, but I think it's important to note that any problems that we have with grapes or wines, anywhere, is a threat to grapes and wine everywhere. So it's very important we get out in front of this and make sure that we can put together the resources to do the research, and the resources to do the eradication that's necessary, to make sure that our grape-growing regions of California continue to be as great as they have been.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It trickles over into every bit of our economy, and every bit of our State, if it's the nearly 150,000 employees that take home about $4.3 billion in wages from the wine industry in California, or it's the 250 wineries and 35,000 acres of grapes right here in Napa County. It's an important industry. It's an environmentally sensitive industry, and every acre that's planted to grapes is an acre that's not going to be paved over and built out in condominiums or homes.
I want to thank St. Supery and Michaela Rodeno for hosting today's event and providing this great facility. Secretary Lyons, thank you for coming. As I said last night, it's very important when the secretary of agriculture comes to these hearings. It shows a real commitment if all branches of government, at every level, are plugged in and are willing to make the commitment that's necessary to deal with this.
I'd like to thank all my colleagues for being here. Lynn, a neighbor and contiguous colleague, who is every bit as affected by this as I am. And George Radanovich, who is the co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus, along with me. Thank you for coming up, and a winemaker himself. And Ken Calvert has just been an all-star on this. He has really led the issue and really worked hard to make sure that we could bring this to the forefront.
So I want to thank all of you. I want to thank all of you who are here today, who have taken the time to come out and participate.
Mr. POMBO. I'd like to recognize Mr. Calvert, who represents another very important winegrape growing region here in California, who originally brought the issue to me, several months ago, and has continually badgered me to hold a hearing out in California on this issue.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. KEN CALVERT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
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Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, I want to thank you for having this hearing, and thank Mike for his good hospitality here in, really, the heartland of the wine industry here in California.
I have a complete statement for the record, and I would ask unanimous consent for that to be submitted for the record.
Mr. POMBO. Without objection, everybody's opening statements will be included in the record in their entirety.
Mr. CALVERT. I would like to add a few things.
Pierce's disease, as many of you in this room know, has been around for a long, long time. I guess the first time people really noticed it was in Anaheim, at the turn of the century, where there was a 50 to 60,000-acre industry in the city of Anaheim. At that time, it was called Anaheim's disease. It wiped out all 50 to 60,000 acres at the time.
Now it's back. Now we have a vector, which we'll be talking about, that's in this vial, this glassy-winged sharpshooter, which is a highly efficient carrier of this disease, and quite frankly, we don't want to have happened to you what's happened to the Temecula Valley. We're going to have some farmers you're going to hear from today that have been absolutely devastated by this disease and this carrier.
You know, they say that Prohibition was terrible in the wine industry. Well, this may even be worse, and I think we need to let people know that this is happening. Someone pointed out to me that this is a lot like telling someone they have cancer, and sometimes people are in denial. I would think that some of our people here today from the Temecula area will say that they were in denial, that they didn't really believe that this was happening until it was too late.
Unfortunately, we all, in California, tend to look at these insects, whether it's the glassy-winged sharpshooter or the fire ant or the Mediterranean fruit fly, when it's too late, when they become endemic and populate this State. We need to take a more proactive approach. I've talked to Secretary Lyons and Secretary Glickman and, certainly, Chairman Pombo, about this problem. We live in a smaller world. Air transportation is bringing products to this State and to this Nation in shorter periods of time, and that's a good thing; but sometimes things hitchhike along that we don't want, and the sharpshooter is one of them.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We shouldn't react to these pests. We need to get ahead of them. We have a Center for Disease Control in Atlanta that, when we see something come into the United States that we don't like, that attacks human beings, we jump on it right away, and it's been very effective. We really need to do the same thing for pests, here in the United States, especially in the southwest United States, where we have a contiguous border with South America where many of these pests are coming from.
So, Mr. Chairman, in the short run, certainly, we need to attack this issue of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, the vector of this horrific disease, Pierce's disease, but in the long term, we also need to take a look at how do we attack this problem, not just insect by insect, but by taking on this pest in a more managed and organized way. So if anything comes out of this, Mr. Chairman, I certainly hope that comes out also.
Thank you, again, for your hospitality and letting me speak.
[The prepared statements of Mr. Calvert and Mrs. Bono follow:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. KEN CALVERT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
I would like to start by thanking a few people today. I'd like to thank Chairman Pombo for agreeing to hold this important hearing. I would also like to thank Congressman Mike Thompson for hosting this event in beautiful Napa Valley. I'd like to thank Secretary Lyons for his participation today and his hard work and support on this issue. Finally, I'd like to thank Secretary Glickman and Deputy Secretary Rominger, who recently visited Calloway Winery in Temecula, for their assistance and support.
We sit here today in Napa Valley. This beautiful, picturesque location is a unique place within the United States, and the world. To the Wappo Indians, who first inhabited the valley, ''Napa'' meant a land of plenty. However, off in the horizon, we have a crisis looming that could drastically affect what those Indians first saw in this Valley so long ago.
This crisis is Pierce's disease. Pierce's disease has been present in California since the 1880's. Known originally as Anaheim disease, it initially broke out in southern California, destroying 40,000 to 50,000 acres, closing 50 wineries and completely wiping out the Anaheim wine industry.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the Central Valley, the disease was first identified around 1917, and from 1933 to 1940, a major outbreak devastated many Central Valley districts.
Today, this disease is back with full vengeance, but now with a highly efficient vector: the glassy-winged sharpshooter. The glassy-winged sharpshooter, which transmits Pierce's disease, is native to States along the Gulf of Mexico. The host list of the glassy-winged sharpshooter includes 73 plant species in 35 families, including citrus and oleander. High populations of this insect can now be found in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. It has moved as far north as Lodi.
In my district, the glassy-winged sharpshooter is spreading Pierce's disease at a rapid rate. The city of Temecula is the gateway to one of the premier wine growing regions in California. The cool ocean breezes that blow through the Rainbow Gap provide a moderate climate year around. The 13 wineries produce a wide range of award-winning wines such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Now, it is estimated that 20 percent of the 2,700 acres of table grapes in the Temecula Valley area have been affected by Pierce's disease. It has also been reported that unless a cure is discovered, the Temecula area's wine industry will be completely destroyed within three years.
Charles Krug is credited with establishing Napa Valley's first commercial winery in 1861, and by 1889, there were over 140 wineries in operation. Unfortunately, it has been said that other than Prohibition, Pierce's disease is the biggest threat that the Napa Valley wine industry has ever faced. We DO NOT want what's happening in the Temecula Valley to happen here which is why we are here today to raise the awareness of this disease. This is a catastrophe in my district, yet only a looming crisis for this Valley.
California has experienced pests such as the Mediterranean fruit fly, the red imported fire ant, the white fly and now, the glassy-winged sharpshooter. It is estimated that a new pest is introduced into California every 60 days. Exotic pests have an enormous economic impact on California, costing agriculture an estimated $3 billion annually. Many of these exotic pests become established and cause millions of dollars in damage to California's urban, agricultural and natural environments.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Exotic pests and diseases will continue to enter the State, probably a an accelerated rate, because of increased international air transport, growing tourism and human immigration from semitropical regions where many of California's crops originate.
This particular vector which transmits Pierce's disease has been around for nearly 10 years. We should have been working on this vector and disease long ago. If we are always forced to REACT to these pests, we can only work to salvage what's left from their destructive aftermath. We need to be pro-active on this front and develop a strategic, collaborative approach that stops these dangerous pests before they become established.
We need to create a center that deals with invasive species that attack agriculture much like the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA does to protect people. California has many unique products that are exported all over the world including entertainment, technology, fruits, vegetables and wine. We export a certain lifestyle that Californian's enjoy, wine being a large part of our State's culture. California's wine industry directly and indirectly creates 112,130 jobs in California and adds $11 billion to the State's Gross Domestic Product. We need to do everything in our power to prevent this disease from destroying an integral part of California's culture. I look forward to hearing the testimony of today's witnesses. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. MARY BONO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr Chairman, I would like to thank you for holding this important hearing to address the devastating situation the wine growers in my district are experiencing. Currently, the Temecula wine producers are undergoing a very distressful and frustrating time due to the spread of Pierce's disease by the glassy-winged sharpshooter. As I understand the current situation, the strain of Pierce's disease ravaging our local vines has existed in California for sometime.
However, with the introduction to southern California of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a new and stronger vector, the spread of the disease has become much more widespread and difficult to contain.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC After reviewing the infestation and widespread destruction of this disease throughout the Temecula vineyards, I can report that this is a very serious problem that endangers the emerging wine industry in my district and certainly provides one of the most serious threats to the California wine industry as a whole to date. In fact, Alexander Purcell, professor of entomology at the University of California at Berkeley, is quoted as saying, ''the spread of the glassy-winged sharpshooter throughout California's grape-growing regions represents what I believe is the most-serious threat ever to California viticulture.'' It has been reported that this threat could seriously affect other important crops throughout California as well.
The State of California and the leaders of the viticulture industry in both southern and northern California have worked too hard building their reputation as one of the premier wine producing regions in the world to stand by and allow this disease and the vector that carries it to destroy their vines. Not only would inaction at the Federal level be a disservice to the families of the producers, but it would be stripping California of one of its most powerful economic drivers and export commodities.
Within the State, task forces have been discharged to create a battle plan for combating this pest, and funds have been dispatched from both the private sector and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. From the Federal level, Congressman Ken Calvert and I have sent numerous letters to the Secretary of Agriculture requesting funding for assistance in this matter.
It is essential that we provide all of the resources at our disposal to assist the emerging efforts in his war against the glassy-winged sharpshooter.
As we look at the fiscal year 2000 emergency supplemental appropriations act and the fiscal year 2001 Appropriations Act, it is imperative that we provide aid for immediate relief to growers in the Temecula area along with fast tracking funding for research to be shared with grape growers throughout the State. In addition to addressing the need in California presently, we must look at the reasons this situation has been allowed to escalate to such disastrous proportions. This may include focusing on the endeavors of the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is my understanding that the glassy-winged sharpshooter was most likely brought to the United States from South America and brought to California from Florida. Not only should this pest have been stopped from entering through Florida, but importation and interstate movement of the pest should have been limited.
Based upon all of the evidence I have reviewed, I am more convinced than ever that there is a definite need for Federal assistance and expertise regarding this situation. This is truly a catastrophic situation in the Temecula area, and it would be an absolute travesty if something was not done to protect the northern vines from the devastation experienced in Temecula.
Furthermore, we need to continue working together to ensure that northern wine growers learn from what has happened in Temecula so that they can be made aware of the very real threat this pest poses to the California wine industry.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the members of the subcommittee for taking the time to study the problems associated with this pest so that we can begin to find ways to fight against Pierce's disease. I look forward to working with you all in the coming months on this important subject.
Mr. POMBO. I'd like to, now, recognize my colleague, Ms. Woolsey, and ask unanimous consent that she be allowed to sit on the subcommittee for the purposes of this hearing.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. LYNN C. WOOLSEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you very, very much, Mr. Chairman, and good morning to all of you.
It's a pleasure to be here today with my colleagues to talk about this very important issue, but it's a particular pleasure to be at a subcommittee hearing where there is so much community participation. That, too, is unusual, and, Mike, I give you a lot of credit for that. Thank you for pulling this all together, and thank you to our witnesses, because your level of interest and expertise will make a great deal of difference to us when we go back to Washington.
Chairman Pombo, thank you for letting me sit here, not as a member of the committee or the subcommittee, but extremely interested in the issue of Pierce's disease, knowing how important agriculture is to our State and to my district, as well as in the Sixth Congressional District, just west of here, if any of you want to know where I live. We, too, depend on the wine industry to have one of the best economies in the Nation, and that's because of the diversity that agriculture, not just wine, but also the dairy industry, and other types of agriculture, make all the difference in the world to a district that could falter if it didn't have this great industry of wine and grapes.
So what we're going to learn today is what we need to do, what the problem is, where we should go from here. I hope we'll learn that. We need to keep our focus on the most environmentally appropriate ways to deal with this problem, and as a member of Congress, I hope the message will be loud and clear that what's missing in this picture is long-term research. We have to do something now about this disease, but we have to invest in research, at a meaningful level, so that issues like this, in the future, will have some answers before they startI was going to say ''sneaking''I should say, darting into our districts.
So I have more words for the record. I thank you. You need to know, I'm going to slip out. The mayor of Petaluma for 30 years passed away, and her funeral is today; but I'll be here until just before noon.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you again, Mr. Pombo.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
Mr. POMBO. Mr. Radanovich.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE RADANOVICH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As Mike mentioned, I'm a winemaker from Mariposa, and I've vaguely heard of Napa, and really it's kind of nice to get up here and see a little bit of it. I do regard it as that other wine-growing region in California.
I want to say my thanks to Chairman Pombo for having this much-needed hearing and for arranging those circumstances, and also to applaud Mike for arranging the locale, and I regard Mike as a friend of mine and am proud to serve with him as co-chair of the Wine Caucus. I also want to applaud Ken Calvert for all the work that you've done, Ken, in making this issue, as you know, it works from the southern part of the State up north, and that's why it's very important to have the hearings here, in anticipation of problems, and hope that we can stem them off. But you've seen the brunt of it down there, and I appreciate what you did to get the word out and to begin to mobilize forces.
Actually, the glassy-winged sharpshooter is in Napa; it's just dead, and that's the way we want to make sure it stays. We've got little samples in a bottle here. This is the way we want him to end up. That's the purpose of the hearing. I look forward to hearing what people have to say, as far as the work that's been done, the mobilization effort that's been done thus far, and I hope the results of this hearing will be increased funding and kicking this thing into high gear.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I appreciate everybody involved in putting this thing together, and look forward to hearing the testimonies.
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
Mr. POMBO. I'd like to welcome our first panel. Normally, we have a 5-minute oral testimony rule. I'm going to waive that somewhat for my first panel, I think it's important to allow them to have their say about this, because I do think it is a very important issue.
Mr. Figueroa, I'm going to start with you. You can take as much time as is necessary in order for you to present your testimony here this morning. So Mr. Figueroa, if you're ready, you may begin.
STATEMENT OF ENRIQUE E. FIGUEROA, DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY, MARKETING AND REGULATORY PROGRAMS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. FIGUEROA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and other members of the committee. I appreciate very much the opportunity to be here before you this morning to discuss the current outbreak of Pierce's disease in California, and I appreciate you granting me more time, Mr. Chairman.
I will outline of problem and describe the Department of Agriculture's contribution to both the short-term and long-term solutions. I am joined this morning by individuals from APHIS, Mr. Jim Reynolds, who is a Director of the Western Region of Plant Protection and Quarantine, and Dr. Oraze, who is a biochemist at the National Biological Control Institute for APHIS.
In addition, I have two colleagues from the Agricultural Research Service, Dr. Antoinette Betschart, who is the Director for the Pacific West Area for ARS, as well as Dr. Ed Civerolo, who is the research leader for Plant Pathology at the University of California at Davis. My colleagues have joined me to ensure that all of your questions for either APHIS or ARS may be answered today.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pierce's disease is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa that attacks the tissues responsible for transporting water within the plant, eventually killing the vine. Once a plant has contracted Pierce's disease in a warm climate, the plant cannot be saved. Although present in California for the last 100 years, Pierce's disease has been a manageable pest because it occurred in only small patches at the periphery of vineyards. The bacteria cannot spread without a vector. Until the introduction of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Pierce's disease vectors were relatively inefficient.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter is an invasive species of insect that was most likely introduced from the southeastern United States in the early 1990's. The sharpshooter is known to exist in parts of northern Mexico, and has recently become established in southern California. Last year, growers in Riverside County, California reported severe damage to winegrapes due to Pierce's disease, one of several diseases spread by the sharpshooter. Currently, approximately 25 percent of the area's 3,000 acres of winegrapes planted since 1967 are exhibiting systems of this disease.
The sharpshooter is an effective vector for Pierce's disease simply because it is more highly mobile than other leafhoppers that can transport the bacteria. Because of the sharpshooter's superior efficacy, Pierce's disease now poses a serious threat to California grape, almond, citrus and peach industries, which are valued at $14 billion.
The disease damaged $33 million worth of crops from 1995 to 1997 in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, and we expect that total to climb to $50 million between 1997 and the year 2000. In Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, 8,000 of the area's 78,000 acres are infected with Pierce's disease, and consequently, crops in 650 of these acres were destroyed. In southern California, crops in 750 of the area's 3000 acres were destroyed due to Pierce's disease, resulting in a loss of about $12 million per year.
APHIS shares of the concerns of Californians and supports State and local efforts to address problems associated with this pest. One important component of a comprehensive approach to slow the spread of the sharpshooter may be to establish a voluntary program to inspect nursery stock before it leaves southern California to areas, both within and outside of California, not colonized by the sharpshooter. This method, however, would require the cooperation and interaction of the agricultural industry, regulatory agencies and research and extension personnel.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Insecticide applications may also be effective in suppressing the pest and the damage it causes. Last year, Under Secretary Mike Dunn secured $360,000 in contingency funds from APHIS for the application of insecticide in Riverside County. This effort is being coordinated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Commissioner of Agriculture for Riverside County. A six-week application process will begin March 1st of this year, and APHIS looks forward to the success of this effort.
The application of insecticides to control the sharpshooter may be a good short-term solution to the problem of Pierce's disease in California, and it may be an important component of the more long-term Integrated Pest Management approach. Both the bacteria and the sharpshooter are established in California. Therefore, to protect the grape, almond, citrus and peach industries in California, a thoughtful, long-term IPM program is critical. APHIS is pleased to report that we have partnered with the research community, including USDA's Agricultural Research Service and University of California scientists, and we are prepared to help fashion a comprehensive, long-term approach to this critical problem. To help facilitate this process, the Secretary of Agriculture named an APHIS representative, Dr. Michael Oraze, who has joined me here today, to the Pierce's Disease Advisory Task Force. Dr. Oraze works closely with the task force so that APHIS may remain informed of any research breakthroughs or methodological developments in the control effort for this pest.
Again, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, APHIS is pleased that we have been able to contribute to California's effort to control Pierce's disease. California wine and produce are some of our Nation's mostly prized and admired agriculture products. APHIS is committed in our partnership with the research community and the State of California, and we look forward to working together to combat this serious disease.
Let me just mention that we feel that it's very important to allocate a set of resources because our level of understanding and our level of research, with regard to both Pierce's disease and the sharpshooter, is not at the level that we would like it to be. In addition, it is important that we work very closely with industry, with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, so that we can have a comprehensive approach in how to attack and control this particular disease that we see as a very serious threat to various industries in the State of California.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, we look forward to working with Congress and other interested parties in how we can address this, both in the short term, as well as in the long term.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Figueroa appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you.
I'd like, at this time, to recognize Mr. Lyons, and as Mr. Thompson said, it's great to have you here, not just in your position as secretary of agriculture here in California, but also to have a neighbor up here in Napa. Mr. Lyons' family place is not too far from where I grew up.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM J. LYONS, JR., SECRETARY, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
Mr. LYONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Welcome to California and the heart of the California wine country, and thank you for holding this important hearing on Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter. This pest and disease is not a problem limited to Temecula in southern California, nor is it confined to the grape industry. California's citrus and other fruit and nut crops are also at risk. The current damage in Temecula may be an early warning sign of things to come as the sharpshooter continues to move north throughout the State.
Combating this pest and disease defies a simple solution and demands a multi-pronged approach. This is why CDFA has taken the lead to bring all concerned parties together to develop a strategy to fight this problem. Just 6 months ago, in August 1999, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency, and both the Board and the city of Temecula allocated $125,000 each, to support research efforts to combat the sharpshooter and the spread of Pierce's disease.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In response, I adopted an action plan and appointed a task force composed of industry representatives, county agriculture commissioners, university researchers, and State and Federal agricultural officials to identify both short-term and long-term strategies. The task force delivered its final report on research priorities in November.
In September, I wrote to congressional appropriators requesting $4 million for research into control and eradication of the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease. This was not part of the final package, but the appropriation bill did encourage USDA to assist California.
In October, Governor Gray Davis signed legislation to allocate $2.25 million, which was matched by $750,000 in industry money, for competitive grants for research into Pierce's disease. This legislation created a Pierce's Disease Advisory Task Force that will submit its recommendations on research grants to me by March 1, and the duty statement on a statewide coordinator.
In November 1999, we requested and received $360,000 from the APHIS contingency account to set up a pilot treatment program in Temecula.
I recently met with leaders of the nursery industry who share my concern about the spread of the sharpshooter through the nursery stock. They have agreed to adopt a voluntary inspection and treatment program.
CDFA has marshalled its resources for the statewide effort. Since we were first notified of the situation in Temecula, CDFA has spent over $120,000 and hundreds of hours of staff time to meet with stakeholders, coordinate existing activities, and develop protocols for regulatory action and treatment. In addition, Governor Davis has committed up to $200,000 from the CDFA budget to find and release natural enemies for the sharpshooter.
Because of the threat, I will again be asking Congress to appropriate money to fight the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease. An additional $7.14 million in the APHIS budget should be earmarked to fight this disease and pest, allowing my department, our Federal, county, university and industry counterpoints to implement a statewide action plan. This statewide management plan will have four primary elements. One, inspection of nursery stock moving from infested counties to other States and counties. Two, statewide surveys to determine the distribution of the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Three, establish a multi-county pest management area. Four, an aggressive public outreach program to help slow the spread of the pest.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC CDFA estimates that the eight counties that are currently infested will need approximately $200,000 each, to begin effective treatment, monitoring and inspection programs. Each of the remaining 36 counties that are vulnerable to this pest and disease should be allocated $50,000 for survey and outreach, as well as to develop rapid-response capability if the sharpshooter and the pest is detected.
The State's role will be to continue to coordinate all of these programs and provide protocols, training, biological control, outreach, mapping and pest identification services.
Recently, Governor Davis met with California members of the House Appropriations Committee to discuss priority for the next Federal budget, including Federal assistance to fight Pierce's disease. Indeed, this is such a threat that emergency appropriations may be needed. I look forward to working with you and your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee.
It is important to note the glassy-winged sharpshooter is not native to California, but instead came here through the interstate movement of goods, or from across the border. As we discuss additional resources for fighting Pierce's disease, we should also be looking at additional resources to stop all exotic pests and diseases that may threaten California agriculture. Governor Davis' budget proposes an additional $4.3 million to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce the growing threat to California from invasive pests. As Congress debates how best to help producers, attention should be paid to whether the Federal Government sufficiently protects American agriculture from pests.
I want to personally thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your recent hearing on invasive species and on this hearing as well, and also Congressman Thompson, and the panels leadership role in the effective fight of Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter.
This concludes my statement. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Lyons appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you, Mr. Lyons. I'd like to welcome our third panelist, Mr. Pacheco, and turn it over to Mr. Calvert.
Mr. CALVERT. I'd like to introduce our next speaker on the panel, Mr. Rod Pacheco. Mr. Pacheco is a good friend of mine, who represents the Riverside area, and worked with me on trying to pass the word up to Sacramento of the crisis that we have in Riverside County, specifically, in Temecula, with this new vector in the Pierce's disease. I thank Mr. Pacheco for driving up here from Sacramento to add his testimony.
Mr. POMBO. If you're ready, Mr. Pacheco, you can begin.
STATEMENT OF ROD PACHECO, CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY MEMBER, 64th DISTRICT
Mr. PACHECO. Good morning. Let me begin first by apologizing for coming late. I apologize to the committee and the chairman. I'm not the best with directions, and neither is my staff.
Mr. POMBO. The only surprise is that I was on time.
Mr. PACHECO. Thank you for allowing me to testify on this critical agricultural issue. I'd like to begin by expressing my thanks to the following people for their hard work on helping to find solutions for the eradication of the glassy-winged sharpshooter and combatting Pierce's disease.
First, let me begin with the chairman of this committee, Chairman Pombo, and your staff, for putting together this hearing, and this hearing.
Let me further thank my own Congressman, Ken Calvert, for taking the lead on bringing the Federal attention to this destructive local problem that's occurring in Temecula and various areas near my district.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Last, and certainly but not least, I would like to thank former State senator and now Congressman Mike Thompson, for hosting this critical hearing in his district. Thank you.
As you were all well aware, our State's 450,000-plus acres of winegrapes are at risk of potential infection by Pierce's disease. There are 3,000 plus acres in the Temecula Valley region of Riverside County that will be wiped out in the span of 3 years if nothing is done to halt the spread of this disease.
In Anaheim, as I'm sure you aware, California, over 100 years ago, Pierce's disease destroyed an entire industry that consisted of 40,000 acres of winegrapes. Conditions similar to those in Temecula have recently been found in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, and are continuing north. The spread of Pierce's disease, and similar diseases induced by the bacterium to other crops will be devastating to California agriculture.
Two years ago, the glassy-winged sharpshooter, in my area, was merely a nuisance, and today, it's an epidemic. Since 1997, the glassy-winged sharpshooter has spread Pierce's disease throughout almost every vineyard in Temecula. It is estimated that over the past 5 years, Pierce's disease has cost the growers of Temecula $33 million. Winegrape growers have consistently rated Pierce's disease and its vectors among the most dangerous threats to their crops and their livelihoods. Due to the pervasiveness of the glassy-winged sharpshooter in the Temecula winegrapes, Pierce's disease has destroyed many area vineyards. The potential of this disease is overwhelming. Immediate action needs to be taken before California's agricultural industry suffers substantial losses. I would encourage the committee to follow up on the actions that it's already taken.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter is rapidly spreading Pierce's disease throughout California. This is a threat, not only to vineyards, but also to other crops, because of the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease causes terminal diseases in other plants that are host to the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Various other host plants include almonds, peaches, plums, apricots, alfalfa, crepe myrtle, ash, eucalyptus, hibiscus, tree tobacco, sycamore, oak and oleander. There are several varieties of disease-carrying sharpshooters that are native to California. However, the glassy-winged sharpshooter flies farther and can spread more quickly. The host list of this sharpshooter includes 73 plant species and 35 different families, and this list, unfortunately, is growing. If the above-listed host plants are damaged or destroyed from Pierce's disease, the rich agriculture landscape of California will become nonexistent.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Oleander leaf scorch is an example of a costly disease that the glassy-winged sharpshooter is now spreading. The California Department of Transportation maintains oleander in over 2,100 miles of freeway median. It is estimated that Caltrans alone stands to suffer at least a $52 million loss if oleander on highway plantings is lost. In the city of Tustin, in Orange County, approximately $200,000 was requisitioned to pay for the removal of oleanders maintained on city greenbelts and for replanting of other ornamental species. An important part of the landscape in the Southwest will be lost if oleander leaf scorch continues to spread and resistant oleander varieties are not found.
Last year, in my own Riverside County, the Board of Supervisors called a local state of emergency due to the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Since then, extensive action has been taken to provide much-needed research funding for Integrated Pest Management methods to control this pest. State, local and Federal funding have been committed to support long-term research.
Currently, research is underway at U.C. Riverside and U.C. Davis to combat the glassy-winged sharpshooter infestation. At U.C. Riverside, research is being done to provide short-term strategies to slow the spread of these diseases, while long-term solutions are also being developed. These strategies include the use of systemic insecticides that disrupt acquisition and transmission of the pathogen by the glassy-winged sharpshooter. In addition, U.C. Riverside is also investigating the impact of biocontrol to reduce glassy-winged sharpshooter population levels, and barriers and trap crops to keep vectors out of the vineyards. Long-term solutions, which are also being researched at U.C. Davis, will involve the production of grape varieties that are resistant to the Pierce's disease bacterium.
Last year, fortunately, Governor Davis signed into law assembly bill 1232 which provides $750,000 each year for 3 years for Pierce's disease research. I would note, even though it's not part of my written remarks, that that was a bill done in the last 10 days of session. It was put together by Republicans and Democrats alike, in a very expedient fashion, working with the Governor's office, and we were fortunate to get that done, and it was only because of that bipartisan support.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The bill 1232 also requires the secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture to appoint an advisory task force consisting of scientific experts, university researchers and agricultural representatives for the purpose of advising the secretary on research to control and eradicate Pierce's disease.
I would like to commend that task force for the work they've already done to identify and address the major components required for developing and implementing an effective regional and/or county glassy-winged sharpshooter management program.
Although significant steps have been taken to provide funding for research and for a task force to implement critical procedures for eradicating the glassy-winged sharpshooter, there is still much more that needs to be done.
Two critical steps that that will help fight Pierce's disease and will also help to battle other pests and pest diseases in the future are:
One, create a pest strike force. The strike force would be available on an emergency basis, through the Department of Food and Agriculture, to immediately take action when pests and pest diseases attack the agricultural landscape of California.
And, again, if it's acceptable to the committee and the Chair, I'd like to deviate from my written remarks briefly. What we found in Temecula was a great problem in trying to respond to this in a very expedient fashion. We were fortunate we had 10 days left in the session. If it had been 10 days later, we would not have been able to accomplish A.B. 1232 and move very quickly.
It is my recommendation that we have, on the statewide level, and we're working on that legislation as I speak, to create that strike force, so that the secretary of food and agriculture can move very quickly in solving these problems, and have an appropriate resource to do that.
Two, create a pest control research center at the University of California's Riverside and Davis campuses. The center will enable both campuses to combine and continue their advanced research related to pests and biocontrol. Advanced research is critical so future pest diseases can be eradicated prior to their destruction of thousands of acres of agricultural land, as opposed to after the devastation has already occurred.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The glassy-winged sharpshooter/Pierce's disease pest management and research is one of the top issues facing California agriculture today. Together we must develop more effective pest control methods as quickly as possible. I am confident we are moving ahead rapidly on many fronts towards sound and effective pest management.
Let me also, in concluding, thank the committee and the staff for this very important hearing. I look forward to any questions or comments that you have. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pacheco appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. I thank the panel for your testimony. I'd like to recognize Congressman Calvert for any questions he may have.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Figueroa, we have in place, as you know, methods at the border that are supposed to prevent pests like the glassy-winged sharpshooter from entering the United States and coming into this country and causing the devastation that it does. Can you tell us how this particular pest, or any pests, overcome these methods and cross over into the United States from other parts of the country?
Mr. FIGUEROA. I cannot tell you specifically how the glassy-winged sharpshooter came across. I know that it has been in the southeastern part of the United States for a number of years. However, I do want to mention that, in the last 2 days, I was in southern California. I visited our border-crossing facilities, and I visited with the U.S. Attorney because it is important for me to get a direct assessment of some of the smuggling activities that we think are taking place now, smuggling of fruits and vegetables. We are trying to get a handle on, really, the level of the smuggling of fruits and vegetables that is currently taking place.
In visiting with the U.S. Attorney, I discussed with him, and he agreed to convene a group of folks, including APHIS, Customs, CDFA, and other entities that are responsible for looking at some of these smuggling activities, so that we can have a good baseline information.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We recognize that, because of increased travel, not only by citizens of this country, but people coming to this country, as well as increased trade, the challenge before APHIS to monitor all of our ports of entry is becoming a significant challenge. Our budgets are reflecting that, and we hope that, as we get better intelligence as to how these vectors are entering this country, we'll have a much better system of detection.
Mr. CALVERT. That goes into my next question. Do you think APHIS is being funded at a sufficient level to keep these pests from crossing our borders, or do you think the President's submission on the budget this year is sufficient for you to do your job adequately?
Mr. FIGUEROA. Our budget submission for 2001 is, I believe, $561 million, under the invasive species category. We feel that that amount of dollar request indeed will be sufficient for us to be able to deal with the situations that are before us. Having said that
Mr. CALVERT. Secretary Lyons indicateddo you agree with that, Secretary Lyons? That the amount of money that's been submitted to the budget this year is sufficient in order for us to maintain some kind of security at the border?
Mr. LYONS. Congressman, I am one of those individuals, when I get into a fight like this, I like to have as much resources available to me as I can. Any additional help the Government can provide us, I would feel comfortable with. We will be requesting some additional help. We have a continuing fight with different pests. We would like to see a strengthening which wouldof our borders, and of APHIS, which would probably need to have additional resources.
Mr. CALVERT. I bring that up, Mr. Figueroa, only to point out that we certainly need those resources, because the cost of fighting those insects, once they're in the State, or in the United States, is certainly much more than the cost of what additional funding we can put into APHIS. But also, there is an argument, and I know that some share this argument, that no matter what amount of resources you put into this, the pest eventually will come into California, and throughout the United States, especially in the southwest United States.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You mentioned the number of people that cross the border, not only in automobiles, but in airplanes, those or whatever ways people come to this country. Those hitchhikers are going to come along. Now, if that is true, and I believe it to be true, we can slow it down, and I think we ought to do that. Then don't you think it would be a good idea for the Department of Agriculture to support what Assemblyman Pacheco and others have been advocating, which is some type the preemptive strike, some type of center that would look into these types of species early on, as they come into California, or anywhere in the United States?
I can say from my region, which is close to the border, whether it's this species, or whether it's the fire ant, or whether it's the Mediterranean fruit fly, we seem to get hit with it first, obviously, and we need to get ahold of this early on, where we don't have to fight it when it gets up here to northern California.
Do you agree that this type of thing is something that the Department of Agriculture should support?
Mr. FIGUEROA. Let me, first off, finish my line of thinking. When I said that we have sufficient resources, I was going to add the caveat, given our expectations. As you know, we have outbreaks of plant and animal diseases. We have a situation now in Florida which is probably going to be a significant problem. We are discussing now, within the USDA, whether we should have a pool of funds, similar to APHIS's contingency fund, but a larger pool, if we can get Congressional authority or if we decide to go for Congressional authority, so that we have a better ability to respond with funds where these outbreaks are taking place.
Now, with respect to your specific question, we at APHIS are indeed, right now, looking at our intelligence-gathering system to see whether we need to change that to address the specific question that you just posed to us. We will probably be in a better position to respond to you once we go through this analysis of how good our intelligence is on preventing the disease in coming in.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CALVERT. Going back to the funding, what level of resources is the USDA going to provide to fight this particular pest and to help the California wine industry? Can you come up with a number that you want to recommend to us?
Mr. FIGUEROA. As you know, we committed $360,000 already
Mr. CALVERT. Out of this year's budget, you have a line allocation where you have some flexibility to make recommendations of money to go towards particular problems. Are you prepared to make any recommendations?
Mr. FIGUEROA. Not this morning, no, sir; but we do have emerging plans for past allocation, as you know, and we would be able to use funds from that particular line item. In addition, if the request is forthcoming, perhaps we can draw from our contingency fund again.
Mr. CALVERT. My last question, for both the secretary and Mr. Pacheco, do you think the State of California is willing to support such an activity, working, say, with the University of California at Riverside and Davis, to be more in awhether we get ahead of this thing, rather than we just react to a crisis, one pest at a time?
Mr. LYONS. Well, actually, I'm in agreement with you in working to the future. One of the things that I've just created, over the last 30 days, within my own department, is a Science Advisory Task Force for our own department to look into the future. I think we have to look out 3, 5, 10 years on what pest may be coming.
You know, we have an issue now with the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Well, a year and half ago, if you brought up the glassy-winged sharpshooter, I'm not sure we'd have the amount of people in this room or a subcommittee hearing out here. So what's the next glassy-winged sharpshooter? That's what I want to know, as the secretary of agriculture for the State of California.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I'm actually implementing, within my own agency, a Science Advisory Task Force to look at those kind of issues, and hopefully work with the university system and the USDA and the many different industries we have throughout the State.
Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Pacheco.
Mr. PACHECO. Thank you, Congressman. I think it's clear, from our experience in Temecula, that we have to have a strike force that can move very quickly. I have great confidence in the secretary of agriculture for the State of California, Bill Lyons. He's been right on top of this, and has worked extremely hard in trying to meet the challenges that we face down there. We need to create that strike force so it moves quickly. It's true, what the secretary says. A year and a half ago, if you talked to the farmers down there, they'll tell you nobody thought much about the glassy-winged sharpshooter until, very dramatically, they started losing large acreages of their crops every year, and their product.
So we have to have the ability, as a State, and I think, in a larger sense, if USDA and the Federal Government would like to assist and be partners in that, I think that would be very productive, without overstepping my own bounds. We also need the other end of it, too, and that's long-term research. I visited the research laboratory down in U.C. Riverside. It's a very elaborate place, and they're building a new one, and making it even more significant; but we have to have that opportunity to research the things they need to research in order to combat these pests when they get out of the hand.
Right now, they know about the pests that are invading the State of California and the United States, and while they're in small quantities, they have the ability to research that, but that research takes a long time. For example, trying to figure out the biocontrolsand biocontrols are nothing more than finding another bug that eats the other bug, not to sound too perjorative or cold-blooded or anything. That takes a long time to investigate, what pests feed on the other pests, and how you figure out those biocontrols can't be done overnight, can't be done over a matter of months. It takes a year, or years, to figure that out. So you need to have the research end of it, and you need to have the ability, through the secretary of Food and Agriculture, and that's what we're working on in the State, trying to get that accomplished.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CALVERT. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. POMBO. Mr. Thompson.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There are a couple of things that were raised in the opening testimony that I had would like to get some clarification on.
One was, two witnesses, Dr. Figueroa and Mr. Lyons both mentioned the voluntary inspection of food and nursery stock. Why voluntary, and why not something a little more severe than that?
Mr. LYONS. I can say that what we've tried to do, in the Department, is to try to work with the different industries. One of my goals is to make sure that we hold the industrynot only the grape and wine industry together, but also the nursery industry. We're trying the approach of a voluntary inspection program. My staff, along with industry representatives from the grape industry and representatives from the nursery industry, have reached this preliminary agreement about voluntary inspections. What the future holds, I'm not sure.
Mr. THOMPSON. Dr. Figueroa.
Mr. FIGUEROA. Let me just echo what the secretary just mentioned. In APHIS, the way that we operate, with regard to these voluntary or mandatory systems, is that we rely on the State secretary of agriculture. If, in conjunction with him, we determine that it's best to go the mandatory route, as compared to the voluntary route, we would seek to do that; but we feel that the judgment of the Secretary of Agriculture is currently the right way to go.
We do have an ability to change that, as he suggested, but currently, we feel that is the most appropriate way to approach this problem.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. Secretary, when will we know if the voluntary is working, or when we need to step it up to do another level of inspection?
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LYONS. Well, I think one of the things that we're waiting on is we've created the Science Advisory Task Force, made up of many different representatives from both the university level, from the growers, from the grape industry, and the citrus industry, and actually, the almond industry, also. I'm waiting for their report that is supposedly going to be submitted to me by March 1, which is a few weeks away. One of questions that they've been asked to address is the voluntary versus a mandatory inspection program. So I'm looking forward to some of the recommendations based on that.
My feeling is that we need to be very aggressive, both in the long and short-term solutions to this long and short-term problem, but I think we have to be very well-informed and our decisions have to be science-based. That's what I'm going to try to base my decisions on.
We held approximately six major hearings, up and down the State, where we've had anywhere from 200 growers to 650 to 700 growers attend. One of my issues is that I want to make sure that we base these decisions on good science and good decision-making. It's a very emotional situation. I'd like to thank a number of the grower organizations for their help in trying to keep the industry on track, and we realize that this is a statewide problem, not just a Temecula problem.
Mr. THOMPSON. Can we get a copy of the March 1 report?
Mr. LYONS. I'll make sure that that's available to the committee.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you.
Mr. LYONS. In fact, in front of you, I have a packet that has a number of informational items that I would encourage you and your staff to review. When you're flying home, and this vial is leaking on you, I was the one who put them together. So hopefully, this will be your own little glassy-winged sharpshooter.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. This one didn't wait until I left for home to start leaking.
The other thing that was mentioned was the Integrated Pest Management programs. It's my understanding if we introduce a very aggressive Integrated Pest Management, we can get somewhere between 85 to 95 percent of the glassy-winged sharpshooters through the incorporation of a wasp, or whatever other pest management introduction we could bring about.
If that happened, and we were able to get all but 15 to5 to 15 percent, what could that number do to the wine industry?
Mr. LYONS. What I've been told by my people, and by my scientists is that, yes, you're correct that there's about 75 to 80, 85-percent level. However, the remaining percentage can still dramatically affect the wine industry. So even though you might kill 8 out of every 10 glassy-winged sharpshooters, those two that remain can do a lot of damage, and that's one of the areas that we're focused on, too, is to try to get 100-percent eradication, which is going to be very, very difficult on a very mobile pest.
Mr. THOMPSON. So I guess the short answer is, through Integrated Pest Management by itself, we can't do 100 percent, and if we only got 95 percent, that remaining five would be devastating to the industry.
Mr. LYONS. The information I received was, with an 80-percent kill, that remaining 15 to 20 percent could do severe damage to the grape industry. I look at the integrated pest program as a very viable tool in the fight against the glassy-winged sharpshooter, but not the complete answer.
Mr. FIGUEROA. It's our position, as well, Congressman, that the remaining if it's 15 percent or 10 percent that is not controlled by IPM, would still pose a very significant threat and damage to the industry. We do, however, feel that the IPM approach is appropriate to deal with the top 85 percent of those bugs out there so that we can concentrate our effort there, but we will still be very cognizant that the remaining 10 or 15 percent have to be approached in a different manner.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. We have a classification system for pests. Where does the glassy-winged sharpshooter fall, what level, and what does that mean?
Mr. LYONS. Currently, we have a classification within the State of California that's more of an internal classification in our Department. The glassy-winged sharpshooter is currently rated a C pest. That's part of the issue the Science Advisory Task Force is looking at, whether to move that pest rating up.
If I could, I have my director of Pest and Plant, Bob Wynn, here. Bob, maybe you could give a little more technical response to that?
Mr. WYNN. Sure.
Mr. POMBO. I'd like to ask to you identify yourself for the record.
Mr. WYNN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Bob Wynn. I'm director of the Plant Health and Pest Prevention Service at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
If I could, I'd like to move back, just for a moment, on the biocontrol mechanisms, and you're right, 85 to 90 percent control is good, but it also helps us control the spread of that pest, in that we only have to look at an additional 15 percent that we have to certify that nursery stock is free from, moving north.
On the question of the pest-rating classification, as the secretary indicated, it's a communicative system in California. This particular pest was rated a C pest some years ago, back in about 1994. It was initially identified in 1994, I believe, in Ventura County. We regard this pest as heavily infested and established in, as the secretary indicated, eight southern California counties. The populations are fairly significant in those counties.
The pest rating itself is based on several things which have to do with pest distribution in the State, economic significance of the pest, the damage that's done by the pest, and a few other things. Those two items alone, back in 1994, we felt that it was widely distributed, obviously in southern California. At that point in time, we hadn't realized the economic significance of the pest. Obviously, we now have new information.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The secretary and I discussed this some months ago, and to rerate the pest calls for some generation of data dealing with the distribution and economic significance. We are at the pointwe have, as per our internal policy, appointed a committee to review that, a committee of scientists within my division, and we'll make a recommendation to the secretary very shortly on that pest.
I might also add that we have, and very early on, thrown essentially everything we have at this pest. The classification represents the action that the Department was taking. That action has been very high profile, and we were very quick to react, regardless of the pest rating. So we're treating this as a very significant pest.
Mr. THOMPSON. So are you reacting at a higher level than the class C?
Mr. WYNN. Yes, we are.
Mr. THOMPSON. Where does it go? A, B, C and are there more?
Mr. WYNN. Yes. We have a D rating and a Q rating. A Q rating is for a new pest that comes in the State that is considered significant but not yet has a rating. The D rating is a common pest. The C rating can beB and C are fairly interchangeable, in terms of regulatory action taken. The C rating is a pest of general distribution, or wide distribution, in a limited area. That's what this one is. A B rating, also, is a limited distribution.
Mr. THOMPSON. So you're not limited to how you can respond by the rating?
Mr. WYNN. That is correct.
Mr. THOMPSON. Are you limited by the amount of money that you have?
Mr. WYNN. Yes. We're somewhat limited by the amount of money, but as I've already
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. Is it very constrained right now?
Mr. WYNN. We have thrown everything we have gotten at this pest. What we're doing now, and talking about finances, is trying to find the funding to implement a county inspection system, and that's a voluntary system the secretary indicated we're undertaking now. What that system entails is all the counties in the infested areas to survey their nurseries in the areas to essentially identify the high-risk nurseries as to the ones shipping into what we feel are the noninfested areas, and what products are shipped from those nurseries, and whether they are on the ovum position or the feeding host list of this particular pest. As was stated earlier, that book is still being written, in terms of the host list.
So we, and my staff, initially was down in southern California for last 2 or 3 months, doing cursory surveys, trying to identify just that. So even though it's a voluntary system, we're down there working with the nursery industry, who stepped up very early in the process and went to the University of California and developed a monitoring and treatment program. So it's a fairly intensive activity; however, at this time point, still voluntary.
I might add one thing about the voluntary nature. We've also done a significant job of outreach to, not only the industry and the public, but also the agriculture commissioners are partners in the various areas, in terms of their regulatory alternatives. One of the regulatory alternatives, which several of them are investigating, taking part in now, is establishment of local ordinances. Those local ordinances would require that nursery stock out of those infested areas be certified free from this pest prior to shipment into those counties. They also have another alternative which we call a blue-tag or inspection system, which requires that the inspection of the product take place at point of destination.
So we're looking, with our partners, the agriculture commissioners, at all of those alternatives at this point.
Mr. THOMPSON. Point of destination being after the glassy-wing has already come to, say, Napa County?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WYNN. That would be the case, yes. We feel that, along with that
Mr. THOMPSON. That's not reassuring.
Mr. WYNN [continuing]. That the major risk of spread for this pest is the egg masses on the back of leaves. We don't feel that the adult spread is as significant a risk as the egg mass is. However, there is still a risk of adult spread.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you.
Mr. POMBO. Mr. Radanovich.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you. I understand that Integrated Pest Management will be a big tool in eliminating 85 percent of this; the other 15 percent is what we're concerned about. Can somebody, perhaps, give me some detail as to what types of program will be necessary to eradicate that other 15 percent? I'm enlightened that the adults are spread less than the eggs, so I imagine you do work with nurseries and such to eliminate hosts that would be spreading north to facilitate the spread of the sharpshooter, but can I get some detail as to what efforts need to be done in order to get that other 15 percent? Are we looking at aerial spraying? Is it all done at the nursery level? Are we looking at quarantine?
And, then, the second question, and this is open to you, Mr. Lyons, or anybody that wants to take the question, is are we properly funded to do that other 15 percent?
Mr. LYONS. Well, I'll start off by giving, I guess, a general answer that we look at it as a kind of a pizza approach. There is a piece of every part of that pizza, and part of it is going to be detection, part of it is going to be eradication, part is going to be a coordinator position for statewide activities, part of it is our working relationship with USDA and our agriculture commissioners, part of it is our working relationship with our legislators, both at the Federal and State level.
So I'm looking at it as the fact that we need all these tools to make this thing work. Bob can probably get into the specifics about the eradication control effort. Both you and Congressman Thompson bring up the fact that, are we funded as much as we need? One of the issues that I have, and I think members of the legislature and also members of the industry, not just the grape industry, but agriculture in general, are looking at the potential of having funds available from my Department to react very quickly. Currently, I have approximately $1.8 million in emergency funds, and that doesn't go very far when you have a number of different emergencies up and down the State.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I think that there may be a legislative effort to try to increase the ability of the Department to have emergency funds, and that would be basically an increase in the amount of money in the emergency funds.
Mr. RADANOVICH. I'm assuming that the way to combat this thing, as far as funding goes, is a combination of State and Federal. Is industry coming up with a piece of this?
Mr. LYONS. I think industry has stepped up to the plate, I think will have to continue to step up. In Riverside County both the city and county stepped up with, what, $125,000?
Mr. PACHECO. Each. Both the City Council of Temecula and the county supervisors stepped up with 125,000 each. We've had very large commitment and actual delivery of resources from the industry as well. So everybody came together in a very short period of time, and I was pretty amazed with how it came together in such a short period of time.
Mr. RADANOVICH. I guess, Mr. Lyons, a lot will happen, when the report comes out on March 1, to give us some details, more about what it's going to take to eradicate it, and once that's happened, what the bill is going to be.
Mr. LYONS. I want to make sure we use the words ''eradicate'' and ''control.'' It's a tough pest and a very mobile pest, and I don't want to give anybody the false impression that the Secretary is guaranteeing eradication. But we want to be on top of this pest and, at the very least, control it.
Mr. RADANOVICH. I'm concerned that, in Temecula, they're looking at golf courses rather than vineyards, now. You can't even replant. As you know, you can't replant, and it's not like phylloxera. You've got to get rid of the pest.
Mr. Figueroa, you had mentioned that there was $561 million, I guess, in this year's budget allocated for APHIS, if I'm not
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FIGUEROA. It's in the general category of invasive species that, some of it goes to APHIS. Other portions go to ARS. Other portions go to CSRES, and so forth.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Is the portion in APHIS one that will go directly to the control or eradication of this pest?
Mr. FIGUEROA. As I mentioned earlier, we have another specific line item called ''emerging pests'' that will deal with the Asian longhorn beetle, with canker, and this one. So that line item is a line item that we can draw upon for funding to deal with this pest.
In addition, as we've used the contingency fund in APHIS to provide this $360,000, that may be an another source of funds. Let me just add, also, that ARS allocated $100,000 for research on this particular pest already.
Mr. RADANOVICH. I'm kind of concerned about the fact that there's not been a number identified for specifically what's going to be allocated toward combatting this effort. Realizing that you're probably still in the stage of assessing what it's going to take, can you get back to me as far as a specific number that's going to be allocated for the eradication of the sharpshooter in the Federal budget and the USDA?
Mr. FIGUEROA. I will make that attempt and get back to you directly, sir, yes.
Mr. LYONS. If I may, Mr. Chairman, may I have Bob Wynn maybe explain a little more on the eradication of this?
Mr. WYNN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me say, and you'll hear from other speakers, I'm sure, that we consider our long-term problem in this situation to be the Pierce's disease bacteria itself. This pest, as I indicated, is well established in southern California. Talking about eradication in southern California, we're just really not sure that that's going to happen, just because of the establishment of the pest and the infestation levels.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we need to do, though, is my staff has been working closely with the uninfestedwhat we consider to be the uninfested areas. By the way, this pest spreads very easily naturally. As you know, it flies a long ways. It spreads in various methods that we don't know about at this point.
But my staff has been working with those areas that are uninfested, creating management-control areas. One of the elements of those management-control areas is a quick-response plan. That response plan will take effect immediately, and mobilize all resources in those areas upon the first detection of this pest in those areas, and those infestations, we believe can be and will be eradicated to keep this thing beaten back in the presently established areas.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Are the areas that are already affected, then, basically going to have to live with this thing? Is southern California, as far as vineyards go, wasted now?
I'm having a hard time understanding the concept between control and eradication when you're looking at even up to 85 control is not control at all, with the 15 percent hanging out there. Can you enlighten me? Shall we just X out all the vineyards in southern California because the critter is already there, or does controlling mean that these people will be able to go back and reestablish their vineyards
Mr. WYNN. AbsolutelyI'm sorry.
Mr. RADANOVICH [continuing.] Or are we just going to X off that part of the State?
Mr. WYNN. Absolutely not. The $360,000 provided by USDA is a pilot program, funds a pilot program in the Temecula area to research that very thing, and that's control the pest, management of the pest in those areas in which it's established. Now, that entails suppressing the population to the point that we can grow grapes in those areas.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The 85 percent control presently is provided by the present parasite that we have down there, which came naturally to that area, by the way. However, it's a late-season parasite. It takes effect and kills the egg masses and the eggs of the pest around July. There's two life cycles to this pest. The first one goes untreated.
What our staff is doing, and the Secretary mentioned that the Secretary and the Governor have allocated $200,000 to do additional research for additional parasites that would effect control early in the season to suppress the population.
Temecula is just one area. There are grapes growing in the Falbrook area. Avocados are a good ovum position host and a feeding host. So we're real concerned about all those areas, and we have established management and control areas in those infested counties.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you.
Mr. FIGUEROA. Mr. Chairman, could I just add, I was just informed that ARS, for the 2001 budget, has identified this particular disease and pest as an entity that we're going to devote some resources. My assistant does not know that figure, but I'll present that figure to you when I respond to you.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Okay. I know that $20 million was brought up to combat citrus canker in Florida, and I guess I would feel more comfortable if I knew of an aggregate of dollar amount that the Federal Government was willing or able to spend on this thing. That way, we would be able to measure it against what's needed, and I would greatly appreciate it if you could get back to me with a number.
Mr. FIGUEROA. Let me just also add that we are prepared, at our Biological Control Research Institute, to assist when and if the research community identifies a biological control agent, for example, for us to develop the methodology for producing this particular biological control agent and, thereafter, to assist in the production of it.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Ms. Woolsey.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm sitting here reliving a discussion that happened a few years ago in my district when one of my communities was presented with the development in the middle of an agriculture area, and I think it was dairy area. That's cute, dairy area.
Anyway, when the developers were questioned about well, you know, once you put a development in the middle of an agriculture area, and the flies start going into the homes, well then, the agriculture loses. And the answer was, ''Oh, no, we're going to have a fly-free zone.'' A little bit what we're talking about here is feeling like that to me. So my questions willtwo major questions, please reassure me that this is not what we're talking about, dreaming that we'll do something we can't do.
We're talking about a disease that the vector, the glassy-winged sharpshooter, can fly. So, I mean, we can't put all of our eggs in looking at
Mr. POMBO. Eggs?
Ms. WOOLSEY. Yeah, there we go againin nursery stock, because that won't work. My question to you, Mr. Lyonsand then I have another one for you, Mr. Secretaryis when we had the Temecula experience, what took so long, what got in the way, and why aren't we looking at these things early enough? I mean, what stops us from saying, whoops, we have a bad experience. We'd better make sure this doesn't happen someplace else. We're not got going to have a fly-free zone. I mean, we've got this vector in the Central Valley.
Mr. LYONS. The assemblyman would like to jump in.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Sure.
Mr. PACHECO. When we first found out about theI'm going to call it the wine bug, if that's OK.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Okay. I'll call it that.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PACHECO. When I first found out about the wine bug, it was July of last year. I got a call from a farmer down in Temecula, and he wanted to talk to me. I don't think I had met him before, but we talked about it. They had just recently discovered the problem in the vineyards in Temecula, and were seeking some State funds, a relatively small amount, $150,000 to go toward research and some eradication effort. In talking to them further, we got various State representatives together, and then quickly brought in the Department of Food and Agriculture.
Two months later, in September, we had A.B. 1232, and passed that off before the assembly in the last 10 days. So what I would attribute it to, in answering your question, Congresswoman, is the farmers were late to discover it and perceive the true threat. They knew that there were bugs out there. They knew that they were causing some harm. They did not perceive the rapid advance that occurred in Temecula. They lost a certain percentage of the first year, small, and all of a sudden, a giant percentage of their crop the next year, and an even larger percentage the next year. So it caught up on them really quick.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Well, I would suggest that it isn't up to the assembly representative in the district to know the science about this bug. This happened before you. You're going to be term-limited. Are we going to start all over again when you're gone? This is my frustration. And we go from one administration to another. We can't stop and start, based on politics.
Mr. LYONS. Well, I guess, if I were to respond to your question, I actually believe, based on my conversations with both our legislators and the leaders of our industry, and what they've told me is that they're satisfied with the fact that we are on top of this, that we have created a science advisory committee to come up with solid answers on how to attack this, both in the short term and the long term.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I guess I come from two areas. One area is I'm the secretary of the California Department of Agriculture. The second area is I am a rancher-farmer. I will stand up and tell you that I'm proud of the fact of the way this agricultural community has stepped up, jointly, to fight this pest, and I don't have a problem defending that.
There may be people who wish it could be done sooner, and I come from the private sector, and I'm one of those private businessmen that says, yes, why can't we do it today? Now I am a public servant, and I'm starting to see some of those kind of issues you have to as a public servant. One of those things is you have to have public hearings. Two is you need to provide the opportunity for everyone to have a voice. I think we're doing that. I'm proud of our effort at CDFA and USDA and with our legislature and our industry.
I think we're attacking this problem head on. There is going to be long-term problems with long-term solutions. There's going to be short-term problems with short-term solutions. So when I have a farmer come to me and say what are we doing today, I feel very comfortable to say we're attacking this problem.
Ms. WOOLSEY. And prevention is part of the attack?
Mr. LYONS. You're correct. When I look at this, there are a number of areas that we need to look at. One is prevention, eradication. We need to strength our borders. If I had a recommendation, it would be that I had the tools to react quicker, and usually those tools mean money. But I'm proud of the fact that the CDFA has been in a leadership position, working in coordination with the wine and grape industry.
Ms. WOOLSEY. When you talk about borders, do you just mean foreign borders, or do you mean like from the Central Valley to northern California?
Mr. LYONS. Well, I think we've had a good working relationship with a number of our agriculture commissioners.
Mr. POMBO. Just send water.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WOOLSEY. Here's some water.
Mr. LYONS. Don't get me on the water issue.
Mr. POMBO. Let's just not go there.
Mr. LYONS. That's another hearing.
You know, I think that one of my goals is to try to make the industrynot try to make, but try to work with the industry to have a coordinated statewide effort, and I really do believe in working with the individual county agriculture commissioners in developing county implementation plans. They're dealing with their own ranchers and farmers in that area, and I think we've developed that relationship, and I believe there is a couple of commissioners on one of the next panels.
It's a tough issue, but I'm proud of the fact the of way we've attacked it.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Dr. Figueroa, do you believe the USDA concentrates enough of the appropriate resources to the wine industry? Isn't the wine industry more than 10 percent of our agricultural industry in this Nation? Not the wine, but the grape industry.
Mr. FIGUEROA. I don't know what the exact percentage is, Congresswoman, whether it's 10 percent or not.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Well, it's a greater number than the resources will show, I believe, from what I've seen, and we compete with corn and citrus, and we compete with wheat and a lot of other products. I really believe that the grape industry does not get its support from the Federal Government that we ought to have. I think we ought to have a desk where there's one point of contact for this industry, like other crops have.
So do you want to respond to that?
Mr. FIGUEROA. My response is that I'll take that request back with me. I think that the various agencies within the USDA are organized very differently, some by commodity, some geographically. APHIS is organized by vet services versus plant protection and quarantine. So to say that we have a desk for the grape industry within APHIS would not be an appropriate setting because we're organized very differently. Perhaps that may be appropriate in another agency, such as CSRES. I'm just not familiar, but I'll certainly take that request back with me, and look at it, to see whether the 10-percent figure that you're quoting is, indeed, accurate.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WOOLSEY. Well, I would think that a vigorous agricultural product like grapes ought to get the resources and the support they need in every area, from marketing to looking at what's going on with Pierce's disease. So I'd like to work with you on that.
Mr. FIGUEROA. I would like to thank you, very much.
Ms. WOOLSEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LYONS. May I throw in another statement on that, too? If I could respectfully suggest that we're focused today on Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter, but one of the issues I deal with, as the secretary of agriculture here in California, is the total pest issue.
Just recently, in the last 7 or 8 months, we formed a coalition that we called In Fact, which is New Mexico, Florida, Arizona, California and Texas. One of the issues that we have in common is that we have specialty crops, and one of the issues that those specialty crops have is pests. So we've devoted a tremendous amount of time, and worked at a coalition, to hopefully build, with our legislators at the Federal level, on trying to receive some additional resources from the USDA in some of these areas that we're concerned about. It's one that I'm make sure that my staff provides everyone on the committee some background data on that particular coalition.
Mr. POMBO. For the record, I would like to give Mr. Lyons credit for last statement he just made. The coalition that has been formed by the States that predominantly produce specialty crops has been extremely important, and he has done a fantastic job of working with the other States in trying to unite us on some of these issues, particularly on pest issues and invasive species issues. It is very important that we work with the other States on these kinds of issues, particularly because, even though California has the largest delegation in Congress, a lot of the folks who are elected to represent California don't come from the agriculture areas, so they have a different opinion on some of the these issues. So it's important that we work with the other States.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you're aware, Mr. Lyons, Integrated Pest Managementand I need to correct this, because we were kind of going down this path a little while ago, is not a totally biological process. In my district, I have some of the folks that are probably the national leaders in terms of developing an IPM program on grapes, on winegrapes in particular, and in spending time with them and looking at this disease and other issues, they point out the necessity to have a knock-down chemical, to have something so that if there is a breakout, that they have the ability to go in and knock down.
What they want to do, through their Integrated Pest Management program, is to be able to use less chemicals, not to eliminate them completely, because they know that's not possible. So when we talk about biological resources, that is one of the tools that has to be available to them. It is not the only tool; it's one of the tools.
I'd like to ask you, Mr. Figueroa, you mentioned, in your prepared statement and in your oral testimony, about insecticides, pesticides that were used in Riverside County. Do you know which pesticides were used in Riverside County? Do you have a name, or does anybody in your staff have a name?
Mr. FIGUEROA. They are due to be applied on March 1 of this year, and there are two products. One called Admire, and the second one is Lorsban.
Mr. POMBO. The reason I asked you that question is I got an e-mail this morning, particularly on the Lorsban, about the efficacy of using it on a variety of the crops. One of the things that concerned me was that I remember, a couple of years ago, we had a hearing on methylbromide, and about the future of using methylbromide in this country, particularly here in California; and one of the tools, one of the chemicals that was proposed as a replacement for methylbromide was banded by EPA last August. During that hearing, it was brought up as one of the potential replacements.
This e-mail I got this morning, says that under FQPA, that Lorsban is one of the chemicals the EPA is currently looking at for the possibility of phasing out or banning. I think that it is unfortunate that some of the very important crop-protection tools that we are telling farmers, that we are telling States to use, in a particular case like this, could possibly not even be on the market or could be severely restricted in their use in the future.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What is USDA going to do, in terms of working with the EPA, on that particular problem?
Mr. FIGUEROA. Let me, first of all, say, as has been pointed out already, that this application is a pilot application, because we are not definitivelywe don't know definitively that these two products will be effective. We think, that's our best guess, given the information that we've been given. I want to be clear that you understand that this is on a pilot basis, first of all.
With regard to what are we going to do with this particular product, in dealing with the EPA, I think that we will have some consultation within the USDA and the various agencies that have an interest in this, ARS, CSRES, APHIS, and other agencies, and make a decision as to how we present it via articulation of our position to EPA. I am not aware that that has taken place already. As you know, Deputy Secretary Rominger is very interested in this issue, and I'm sure that his leadership with regard to, not only this particular product, but other products that are important to American agriculture, we will look at very closely.
Mr. POMBO. I would like to strongly encourage you and the Department to take a much more active role in dealing with FQPA and some of the problems that I see coming down the road. I think all of us would like to have a reduction in the use of chemicals; but at the same time, I think that if we lose some of those very important crop-protection chemicals that are out there, we lose the ability to control a disease such as this.
You know, it was mentioned about having a desk, or having the USDA take a more active role in all of this. My only comment is, be careful what you ask for, because it seems that to me that if Government takes a much more active role in a particular crop, sometimes the results are not necessarily what we want. I used to have a very large sugarbeet industry, and it was one of the major industries in my district, at one point in time, and now it's almost gone. And the Government has had a very active role in the sugar industry across the country.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Grapes have taken over as the No. 1 industry in my district right now, and I'm going to be very reluctant to ask you to do too much more in that particular industry. But, at the same time, this particular problem that we are faced with is critical, and not just the grape industry, but the specialty crop industry in California.
I appreciate your testimony, all of you, in answering the questions. I do have further questions that I will submit to you in writing and give you the opportunitybecause some of them are technical in nature, and give you the opportunity to answer those for the record. We will hold the hearing record open to give you an opportunity to answer those questions.
I appreciate all of you being here this morning for your testimony and for answering the questions. I'm going to excuse this panel, but before I invite up the next panel, we are going to take a 5-minute break, and give our stenographer a break.
Mr. POMBO. We are going to reconvene the hearing. I'd like to welcome the second panel.
We have Mr. Bill Pauli, John DeLuca, Ms. Karen Ross, Mr. Peter Opatz, Mr. Craig Weaver, Dr. Matthew Blua, Mr. Patrick Gleeson and Dr. James Kamas.
I'd like to thank you all of you for being here.
Mr. Pauli, if you're ready, you can begin, and thank you for being here.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM PAULI, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU
Mr. PAULI. Thank you, members of the committee, for coming here to the North Coast and to California to hear our concern. I think it's important, while we're here in the North Coast, to remember that this is isn't a North Coast problem. This is a California grape-grower problem, and while we happen to be here today, it affects our growers from north to south, and collectively, we have to find solutions to that problem.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While I am a grape grower and farmer, I represent the California Farm Bureau, and all of our growers and all of our commodities, up and down the State, including the nursery industry, and we need to recognize that, collectively, not only as grape growers and table-grape growers and raisin growers, but as almond growers, and as members of our nursery community, we need to find a solution to this problem, not at the expense of one another, but to the benefit of all of us in our State. I think that that's fundamentally very important as we try to address the problem here today.
Let me just summarize my written comments that were submitted to you. We need to move ahead expeditiously, at full speed, and if we make a few mistakes along the way because we reacted too quickly and with too much enthusiasm, so be it; but let us not not react quickly enough at all levels because we were cautious, we were concerned about money, we were concerned about stepping on somebody's toes, we wanted to get the input from everybody. This is a crisis, and we cannot move quickly enough, and we need to move now.
We need to have two things, a short-term plan and a long-term plan. Let me focus, first, on the short-term plan and what my assessment is of those components that are necessary as part of that comprehensive short plan.
It need to be multilevel. We need to be doing a lot things at once, not just one by one, but a lot of things need to be occurring, and occurring simultaneously. We need to focus on an aggressive control and containment program. Eradication should not be excluded as the objective. The best thing that can occur is that we eradicate this insect. Control and containment.
Focus on detection, inspection certification, the potential for quarantine, exclusion efforts from other areas yet not encountering the pest. Comprehensive monitoring program is the backbone of any sort of program. We have got to have good detection and monitoring, and yes, we don't have perfect detection at this point, so let's use the best we've got, and continue to develop additional.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need ordinances and quarantines at various levels so that we can implement a program that is equitable to all commodities and to the nurseries. We need to strengthen our exclusion efforts. We cannot discount exclusion as an effective and viable alternative.
Pest management strategies and plans. We need these strategies at the grower level, with effective tools for them to eliminate this pest. We need regional, county and State programs. We need strike-force planning so that we can move quickly and aggressively for CDFA to exterminate this pest, and we need full IPM programs with nothing excluded from the table.
We need funding; we need funding at all levels. We need funding from the grower community, from the table-grape industry, from the raisin industry, from the wine industry, and other facets of our industry. We need to set up a structure to raise funding from agriculture industry itself. We also need funding from the Government agencies. We need to find a mechanism that's equitable, though, for the growers to raise funding to help fight this battle.
We need public outreach to alert, not only our friends and neighbors, but other members of the community, about the impact that this pest is going to have on county, local and State government.
On the long-term side, we need effective planning from the university and the university system, from USDA and CDFA, as we develop programs that are 3 and 5 years out. But we need short-term programs now.
What do we need from the State? Continued strong leadership from Secretary Lyons on the point, these multifront approach programs. We need to appoint a person to be in charge now, not after legislation. He has the authority, and we need a person now. This program needs to get started, and there's no reason why it can't.
We need, from you, continued support. Obviously, doing what you're doing here today helps emphasize, educate and develop an understanding of the type of things that, collectively, we need. We need to direct Secretary Glickman and the USDA and the people there in APHIS to lend their expertise to help us deal with the job at hand. Congresswoman Woolsey, who has left, made a comment about the basic commodities. Well, we're not a basic commodity, but we a pleasurable commodity, and we're damned important to this country.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As I conclude, let me say, together, with full force now, we have to find a way to succeed to eliminate this pest because it is a tremendous threat to the growers of our State. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pauli appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Mr. DeLuca.
STATEMENT OF JOHN DeLUCA, PRESIDENT, THE WINE INSTITUTE
Mr. DELUCA. In the interests of time, let me both endorse his greeting and commendation of you and the outline of his program. I've known each one of you for many years, and I am most impressed by the bipartisan coming together, by your collective political skills, and the threshold point that you've permitted this industry to arrive at. That gives me a sense of optimism.
I'm here in two capacities, and I'll spend my five minutes equally divided. I'm president and CEO of the Wine Institute and represent over 91 percent of the production of this State on the vintners' side, many of whom are also growers. I'm also chairman of the University of California's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
I am most imposed by the leadership taken by President Dick Atkinson, of the University of California, by Vice-President Reg Gomez, and by the director of governmental affairs, Steve Nation. I would like, in the latter capacity, to present to you for the record, an advanced copy of the work done by the Research and Emergency Response Task Force. President Atkinson moved very quickly and was very impressive, and our 30-member commission approved it, worked with the staff, and have here for you. There are 50 copies. Vice-President Reg Gomez is here if you wish to address any of the questions there.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The major thesis for them is along the same lines. We've got to work on many levels. Their sense is that we need a long-term solution, in the way of genetic engineering, DNA, technological tools that will permit us to actually impart into the vines and into the various hosts, not just for winegrapes, a resistance to the bacteria. That's the long-term approach. But they would concur with the need to move simultaneously.
The Task Force is concerned, essentially, that we not put that off. If we wait for a number of years to see what happens on eradication and on control, we would have lost. We really would recommend that we move immediately, in terms of funding all of these different strategies, immediate, intermediate and long-term. But, again, the sense of the Task Force at the university level, which is a great asset to this State, is county extension, working with the State, Federal researchers. It's really an asset that we need to address, and that's where I'm going to put on my Wine Institute hat.
I think we have all the makings here of the agriculture equivalent of the Manhattan Project, which many of you recall mobilized all the resources in this country when we were at war, when we needed to get the best minds, the best thinking on many, many fronts simultaneously, concurrently, for fear of the Germans having the advance on us in terms of atomic bomb.
There are many lessons to be learned when you can put together that kind of mass, working on so many fronts. I think it's not enough to just talk about government. I think, here, there is a legitimate role to expand on the cost-sharing portion of the private sector, and I think, in addition to what you'll hear from the great work that Patrick Gleeson and the American Vineyard Foundation and the winegrape and the vintner community is doing, we need to step up with further good-faith money to make your job a lot easier when you go to your colleagues in Congress and ask for more money.
I don't think we've really talked this through. I don't have any mandate from our people, but I think that the price of leadership is that you step up to the plate, as was mentioned, and I think we must come up with additional resources so it isn't just a mendicants in the square asking for government handouts. That isn't the case, at all, and I think we should raise the funds so that we have credibility with you as you go to your colleagues and try to raise the various monies.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, in the interest of time, I think we should have a strategy of alliances, as alluded to here, with regard to the specialty crops of the States. If we talk about the wine and winegrape communities, is that sufficient to have the attention of others? Karen and I jointly commissioned a study that showed, for the State of California, we have $34 billion economic impact, $48 billion around the country. But I think, in the strategy of alliances, we must reach out to work with all other sectors within the State and outside of the State.
Thank you, very much, Mr. Chairman and members of the panel.
[The prepared statement of Mr. DeLuca appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Ms. Ross.
STATEMENT OF KAREN ROSS, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF WINEGRAPE GROWERS
Ms. ROSS. Good morning. My name is Karen Ross, and I'm president of the Association of Winegrape Growers. I just want to echo, again, our appreciation for your being here and for your interest in this particular topic.
Much of what I was going to say has been covered very eloquently by the first two speakers, so I just want you to know that we support what has been outlined here. But I also want to add a couple of things to that.
In particular, we have to remember that the glassy-winged sharpshooter itself is the short-term problem because it's vectoring a disease that is the long-term problem, and we can't afford to lose our focus on solving the disease problem itself. We will certainly endorse the efforts to move up to the plate immediately for the type of inspection programs that have been talked about this morning, especially in southern California, so that we all know where those high-risk areas are, and that we can certify that any product coming out of there is, in fact, free of the adult and of the eggs, because the eggs are the biggest threat that we have to watch here.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also have to make sure that we're watching our borders. We have to remember that this pest came in from another State, and we have to do better inspection of products coming in from other States, so that we're, again, certifying that we're not moving adults or egg masses into the State. We need to have ongoing monitoring and inspection programs at all local levels, and we need to understand what the treatment should be if there is a find, and if there is going to be rapid action taken to make sure that we keep as much of this State free of the glassy-winged sharpshooter as we can. That will buy us the time for the scientists to solve the disease.
Finally, we also endorse the position of a project manager that will tie all of this together. I think you've heard a real strong theme here today about the need for coordination and cooperation, and I know that our organization has been very involved in trying to pull all those pieces together to make sure that growers of all commodities are aware of this very serious threat. It is serious. There is things that can be done. This type of a containment program is an important part of the management opportunity that we have to assure growers, as well as the people who finance us, that there is much that can be done, that is being done. The State has exerted some tremendous leadership in helping to make that happen, and your help has also been key to that.
As far as long-term research, what we have identified, in particular, as a minimum, what we need in the next fiscal year would be at least a million-dollar special grant for a study of this disease, probably through the University of California. We also believe that there is the need for at least two full-time additional staff people to the Agricultural Research Service to take a look at the pest itself, how the Xylella moves, how we can cure Pierce's disease, or come up with a treatment for it so it's not the hopeless prospect that it is for the people who have lost their vineyards. So we're asking for an additional $1 million for special grant funding, as well as two additional staff, which would be $600,000.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, we really appreciate your being here, and are available to answer your questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Ross appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Mr. Opatz.
STATEMENT OF PETER OPATZ, DIRECTOR OF VITICULTURE, CLOS DU BOIS VINEYARD AND WINERY
Mr. OPATZ. Good morning. First, I'd like to start by thanking you, Mr. Pombo, and members of the subcommittee, and especially to acknowledge Mike for his attention to this matter, and all your folks on the subcommittee.
My name is Peter Opatz. I'm a local guy. Just a couple of mailboxes down are my roots. I've been dealing with Pierce's disease as a viticulturist for about 27 years. I'm going to cut to the chase and summarize much of my testimony here because, obviously, folks have addressed a great deal of it.
This particular battle that we've been fighting is now a full-blown war for all of California viticulture. The folks I represent, the Clos du Bois Wine Company, with 750 acres in Sonoma County, and also the largest producer of Sonoma County labeled wines, we're feeling under siege with the even the notion that this vector could move into our neighborhood. I also wear another hat as president of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association, and I speak on behalf of them. They, equally, feel under siege and bewildered at the impact that this pest could bring to our community.
I'll reserve my comments on some of the technical aspects. I would be very happy to cover them in the question form. But this particular super vector, for the lack of any other descriptor, brings a whole new series of disease control dynamics that are, from my 27 years of experience, totally out of the box. This guy is, indeed, a superman of bugs, and it's going to take a national effort, not a local effort, but the best minds in our country, to be able to bring forth a control strategy, and hopefullyI share these guys' concerns, from my practical experience, about full eradication. I'm very cynical about that.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, we've been controlling Pierce's disease, for my full experience in the business, with dealing with the environmental regions within the scope of our vineyards. This super vector brings control methodologies at hand outside of scope of our vineyards, well into riparian areas that are very environmentally sensitive. We're not going to be able to go into an area with endangered species and start spraying the corridors. That's not going to happen. So I can't emphasize enough that the siege that we're impressed with at this time.
In conclusion, my brief summary is a couple of things. We had Prohibition. It was a monumental time in the industry. I would submit to you, that this, in kind, will be another historical point, if not addressed immediately and rapidly. I believe, in my heart, this will require a national effort, and it's incumbent upon you folks to facilitate that with the powers that the folks of the United States have put in your hands. The State of California is at tremendous risk with this particular pest.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Opatz appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Mr. Weaver.
STATEMENT OF CRAIG A. WEAVER, VINEYARD MANAGER, CALLAWAY VINEYARD & WINERY
Mr. WEAVER. Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee. Thank you for taking your time for this most serious matter. I'm Craig Weaver, vineyard manager of Callaway Vineyard & Winery in Temecula, the, quote, unquote, epicenter of this thing that we're going through right now. I represent Callaway Vineyard on the Pierce's Disease Task Force of the State of California, and my local leadership role is vice-president of the Temecula Winegrape Growers Association.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Callaway Vineyard & Winery of Temecula produces around 300,000 cases a year. We own 720 acres. Out of the 720 acres, 121 acres were lost, last year, due to this disease. I'd like to emphasize that Congressman Packard is the representative for our area. He was down with us last month and saw, firsthand, the impact of the disease. Also, Congresswoman Mary Bono, Congressman Ken Calvert and [State] Senator Al Pacheco have been very influential in helping us with this matter.
In 4 short years, the Temecula Valley has been transformed from a viable grape-growing area to an area with disastrous implications. This is the third time this disease has struck southern California in the past 120 years. We all know the history of Anaheim. What hasn't been mentioned is that, to our south, 30 minutes, Escondido lost 1,000 acres of grapes during World War II. The time is now to find a solution. As was talked about, short term is the glassy-winged sharpshooter, and the long term is the disease. The glassy-winged sharpshooter was first discovered in Temecula in 1996. We heard testimony on our first panel about there should be a strike force at hand. This insect was found in 1990. There were some people that looked at the bug and said this is not a serious threat to California. Where were they coming from?
In 1997, there was an abandoned vineyard in Temecula. We had never had Pierce's disease in the valley before. We found the abandoned vineyard. The association spent their own money to bulldoze the vineyard, since the owner would not do it. From that time on, in 1998, the growers assessed themselves $20,000 in our little community to fund a monitoring and research study with Matthew Blua, a researcher at UCR.
In the fall of 1998, it was confirmed that the glassy-winged sharpshooter could vector this disease. In 1999, the growers again assessed themselves $25,000. This should help answer the question, did the valley, did the farmers try to help themselves first, before trying to cry wolf? Yes, we did. We tried to take care of ourselves, but this thing is larger than life, larger than you can embrace yourself around.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the fall of 1999, UCR did a monitoring survey, estimating between 20 to 75 percent of vineyards in Temecula were infected with some degree of PD or another. There's been many people involved in soliciting research funds for the PD problem, and you have a list of them in front of you. The total amounts to 1.9 million, unheard of in research in California. The American Vineyard Foundation does a fantastic job of researching and getting funds. Their total research they get from voluntary contributions is $1.3 million. So pat all yourselves on the back for giving us that kind of money, but it's way far from being over at $1.9 million. We need closer to $5 or $10 million to even get close to it.
In 1999, the loss at Callaway was 121 acres, as I talked about. Winegrapes will now have to be purchased outside the area, resulting in an expenditure of $700,000. When you factor in the probable lower yield of the remaining acreage, this would reach in excess of $2 million. When you factor in the loss implications for the remainder of the Temecula Valley, the numbers are staggering. An additional 500 acres would be quoted as non-producing acres. Replacement cost for this tonnage could be $3 million. Taking into account the probable lower yield for the remaining acreage in the Temecula Valley, an additional $4.5 million, this year, we're looking at.
I would like to quote Dr. Sandy Purcell, from Berkeley, and he said this 2 years ago. ''The problem should not be lack of money. The problem will be a lack of time.'' The Temecula Valley will need some quick, short-term answers to mitigate the insects in order to buy some time so the long-term cure of Pierce's disease bacterium can be addressed.
The experience we gained from the short-term research this year will prove to be invaluable for the entire State of California. The progress and research will surely save countless millions of dollars lost as the glassy-winged sharpshooter makes its way northward. In my last 6 months, I've been around the State of California, and I remember one of the Congressmen making a comment about, ''Geez, when we have a fire, we have to have the fire station built first.'' I guess, as part of that quick attack team or research plan, we'll have to have someone come out and put out the fire before we have to build a fire station.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On behalf of Callaway Vineyard & Winery, I'd like to seek your assistance to procure some form of emergency funding to aid Callaway Vineyard and other affected vineyards in the Temecula Valley. I would also like to submit this as my testimony. This poster is not meant to be funny in any way. In my estimation, this is public enemy No. 1 to California agriculture.
I most certainly appreciate your efforts in that area. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Weaver appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Dr. Blua.
STATEMENT OF MATTHEW J. BLUA, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE
Mr. BLUA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to try to accommodate the great testimony I've heard this morning, and change my testimony, somewhat, to be focused on some of the things that are more important to me.
I'm Matthew Blua. I am a researcher at U.C. Riverside, and I've been studying insects that transmit diseases to plants since I started my Ph.D. Program in the mid-eighties, and since 1996, I'd been working on the glassy-winged sharpshooter. It was first observed spreading oleander leaf scorch in a species of oleander, and not many people cared about it. Mr. Pacheco mentioned that Caltrans cared about it because they use a lot it on freeway medians, and they funded our State initiative.
I was also involved in plant pathology. So we at UCR were out in the front studying this sharpshooter and the diseases it spreads.
One of the important things to understand about this vector, relative to the native California vectors, is that it has a tremendously huge potential to spread the disease, relative to the ones that we've had since time. First off, it has a very large host range, and it exploits agriculture very well, especially irrigated agriculture. It is a strong flyer, so it goes well into the vineyard, relative to the other sharpshooters, and it can feed on woody tissue.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm not going to go into a great amount of detail as to why this is important, except to say that, because it can feed on woody tissue, it inoculates plants at the base of canes, near the permanent part of the plant. So not only is the window for opportunity to infect the plant wider because those canes can't get pruned off, and sometimes a disease is pruned off with the other vectors, but it can also spread from vine to vine. This has never been noticed before in California.
The typical pattern of disease spread is from outside of vineyard into the vineyard, but not among vines within the vineyard. This is very important because it means that rather thanwell, you can consider this kind of spread, where it goes from outside the vineyard into the vineyard as simple interest. With the glassy-winged sharpshooter, it's compound interest, because for every newly infected vine in a vineyard, there is a greater opportunity that that plant will be the source from which other plants are infected.
So the pattern of disease spread that we see in Temecula is not one of a edge-effect problem, unless you count your edge as about a half a mile wide. Some vineyards have over 90 percent plants that are infected, and this is just in a few short years. When I first started this project, for my first full season in 1998, I would have said the problem is scattered hot spots. In 1999, I'd say the situation is rampant.
There are several other concerns I want to mention. One is, can California's grape industry survey PD spread by the glassy-winged sharpshooter even in the short term? There is no substantial industry in the southeast United States, where this pest comes from, and there could be.
What is going to happen to grape and almond production in the San Joaquin Valley in 10 years? Since the glassy-winged sharpshooter was first collected in California in 1990, 10 years after, we're seeing tremendous devastation in Temecula. We first identified the glassy-winged sharpshooter in southern Kern County in 1998. Where would it be in 10 years?
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I should mention that almond production is important because the same strain of this bacteria, and other strains that cause Pierce's disease, affect almonds.
Will the glassy-winged sharpshooter spread through other grape-growing areas in California? It exploits irrigated agriculture well. It could probably spread to areas that don't have it right now, including the Coachella Valley and the Napa/Sonoma area.
Will we see other diseases caused by Xylella fastidiosa in California? I first started studying a disease that was unknown in California. There is other plants at risk. People have mentioned it. Besides almonds and grapes, there is sycamores, a number of ornamental plants, peaches, plums, and I think the list goes on and on, including citrus.
I just want to talk briefly about the potential for us to deal with this problem. First off, is eradication possible, eradication of the sharpshooter possible? It has a very large host range that includes many feral and native plants that grow in nature areas, and also in backyards. So it's not going to be a matter of us being able to treat everywhere where there could be sharpshooters. Not only that, unlike the Med fly, there is no kind of bait that we can deploy that we can make these animals feed on. They have to feed on plants. So eradication, except at a local level, is not going to be likely. At a local level, we might be able to use some kind of eradication tactics that would reduce the population to such a small level that they can't reproduce.
Some of the short-term control rates we're looking at include vector reduction using biocontrol, which we're actively involved in, insecticides, and materials that keep sharpshooters from feeding. We want to stack these control strategies in a way that we can achieve 99-percent reduction in vector pressure. Because if we can't talk about 99 percent, we're not going to talk about a reduction in disease spread.
Somebody mentioned before that the long-term control strategy will be transgenic techniques to make plants that are resistant or tolerant. I want to mention that we have tremendous expertise at the University of California, U.C. Berkeley, at U.C. Davis and U.C. Riverside. The research community needs two things, time and research funds. To some degree, we can buy time with research funds, but we can't make a season happen faster.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I thank you for the opportunity to testify. Don't hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss this with me at some point in the future.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Blua appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Mr. Gleeson.
STATEMENT OF PATRICK GLEESON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN VINEYARD FOUNDATION
Mr. GLEESON. Good morning and thank you for your time and interest in this issue. I am Patrick Gleeson. I am the executive director for the American Vineyard Foundation. And as a voluntary non-profit research organization, the AVF is charged with investing in and managing the research programs that are focused on meeting the industry's highest priorities.
Our latest survey, in late 1999, identified the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease as the No. 1 and 2 issues for California vintners and growers. I'm not going to go over the funding efforts that you have in front of you, to partner up with the time that we've been allotted; but the partnerships that we have established with those funds have been impressive. The city of Temecula, the county of Riverside, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Viticulture Consortium. We are willing to commit and work with partners to make sure that we're not just holding out our hand, saying we need, we need. We want to commit to working with you.
As Craig mentioned, 2 years ago in Temecula, Pierce's disease and glassy-winged sharpshooter was just a moderate concern. Today, it's of epidemic proportions.
The potential threat from the spread of the glassy-wing to other regions of the State is frightening and real. If we're going to be successful in battling this Pierce's disease issue and glassy-wing, we must continue to work in partnership with the University of California researchers, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the USDA, State, Federal and local government, in a focused, coordinated manner.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In an effort to minimize research duplication and maximize available research expertise and funds, the AVF developed a long-term research program now going into its third year. This multidisciplinary research program is working on entomology, molecular biology, genetics, plant anatomy, xylem chemistry and viticultural practices in a coordinated fashion under one umbrella.
The PD program was designed to be flexible. I like to call it plug-and-play. The reason we call it a plug-and-play is the research team is encouraged to add research expertise and objectives as needed to keep pace with this complex problem. We must also be open to collaborating with researchers internationally if they fill a research gap. A collaborative research effort is the most efficient approach. We cannot allow researchers to work on their own individual pieces of the puzzle in a vacuum. There must be a coordinated effort.
This morning we've heard a lot of about the glassy-wing, but we've also heard a lot about the bacterium. The bacterium is crossing commodities. It's grapes, citrus, stone fruits, nut and ornamentals in California and throughout the southern United States. Coordinating our research efforts with those of other commodities is a step in the right direction in accelerating the research progress. We're committed to working with other commodities.
The spread and the movement of glassy-wing into other regions of this State must be slowed or stopped from the southern California counties where the glassy-wing has been found. That's the short term, to manage and control the spread of glassy-wing. In the longer term, we need to deal with the bacterium. If we can solve the bacterium question, these vectors are just insects sitting on our windshield as we drive up and down the highway.
As you can see, PD is not just a regional concern for northern California or southern California. It is a serious threat statewide, and a national threat to grape production and many other commodities. The winegrape industry is committed to working with all these commodities to streamline the research programs towards the common goal, the control of Pierce's disease.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, I would like to thank you again for your time and support in working with us on this issue.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gleeson appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you. Dr. Kamas.
STATEMENT OF JAMES S. KAMAS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AND EXTENSION FRUIT SPECIALIST, TEXAS AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
Mr. KAMAS. If you'll indulge me, I'm used to speaking in front of growers, and I need lots of visual aids to help me today.
Mr. POMBO. That's fine.
Mr. KAMAS. My name is Jim Kamas. I'm the extension fruit specialist at Texas A&M, and last fall, Dean Helier asked me to chair the Texas Pierce's Disease Task Force. Texas is, by relative standards, by your standards, a relatively small industry. We have about 3,700 acres of commercial winegrapes in the State, but we do have 32 wineries, and it contributes $120 million annually to the State economy.
This is a relatively old slide, and it generally shows the distribution of grapes within the State; but one of the things you can see is, in the south plains and the far western part the State, really, our grape acreage is decreasing in the north, because of climate limitations, in the west, because of water availability. Where we're seeing a tremendous increase in acreage and in wineries is in the west cross-timbers area where there's approximately 2 million people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and in the Texas Hill Country, where I'm located. Again, approximately 2 million people in the Austin/San Antonio area.
We do have 32 wineries in the State, and it's estimated that we'll have another four bonded by the end of this year, and perhaps 45 by the end of 2001. Again, they're relatively small wineries, traditionally 35 or 40 acres in front of them, but they contribute, not only in the wine sales, but tremendously to the tourism industry in those areas that I'm located in.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are severely limited in our geographical areas, in the west cross-timbers and the Texas Hill Country, by the same bacterium, the Xylella fastidiosa, that carries Pierce's disease. Again, it's been pointed out that Pierce's disease is not indigenous to California, but was introduced in the late 19th century. It is indigenous to the entire Gulf Coast, and commonly occurs along the Atlantic seaboard as far north as Virginia.
I think I would like to take this time to point out that, although California has a much greater economic investment in the winegrape industry, I think it serves everyone's best interest if we begin to study this disease in the area in which it's endemic. We can learn a lot about its behavior, its movement in indigenous plants. We can learn a lot about the insects that vector it.
This is an old slide from 1975 that showed the expected probability of Pierce's disease within my State. You can see, along the Gulf Coast region, a very, very high probability, and in those areas, growers are content to grow tolerant varieties, tolerant winegrape varieties that don't make the best wine. These are commonly used as blenders among the other States' wineries.
As we go north and west, the expected probability of this disease lessens dramatically. We used to think it was the range of the vector. We believe that is also true, but we also now know that cold temperatures are therapeutic to vines, and can actually kill the bacteria within vines. One of the things that's changed is we've seen a dramatic increase in the warmth of our winters. Our winter minimums aren't as low as they used to be. So, as a result of that, in 1996, we did a survey ELISA survey across the State. We're seeing it as far west as Fort Davis, TX, at 5,000 feet, where we never thought we'd find the disease. We're seeing it along the Red River, and we're expecting its movement into Oklahoma.
I also have to point out that the disease has been documented in Arizona, is suspected in New Mexico, and although, perhaps, importation through plant materials into California was a way the disease was introduced, or that the glassy-wing was introduced into southern California, I don't think we need to exclude nature migration through irrigated agriculture into southern California.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have seen tremendous impact on our winegrape industry. We've gone from very, very productive vineyards, which saw it first strike in Pierce's disease. Three years later, the entire 40-acre vineyards were dead.
Much has already been described about how the bacteria works. The Xyella fastidiosa basically clogs the vascular or water-conducting tissue of the vine, and leads to death. One of the things that's different about Texas is that many of our indigenous or native grape species are tolerant to this disease. No. 1, that poses a potential threat to our growers, in that native vines produce the source of the bacterium, but No. 2, it needs to be pointed out that the fact that these vines can tolerate the disease, can live and be productive in the presence of the bacteria, perhaps holds the genetic answer to the long-term solution of combatting this bacteria.
The other question we have to answer in Texas is what are our other native plants, what are our other alternate hosts that harbor the bacteria outside of the vineyard that are responsible for its movement into grape vines. We have a number of sharpshooters that vector this disease. In 1997, we did our preliminary insect surveys across the vineyards in Texas. We did compare vineyards, those with and those without Pierce's disease. We identified 24 specific species of sharpshooter that have the potential mouth parts to vectors this disease, eight of which are known to be vectors. The others we still need research funds to do the assays to find out if they are vectors.
Now, this is a localized problem, but I'm telling you, if glassy-wing can move into California, the potential is there for some of these other species to move into southern California as well. So glassy-wing may be the one that you're fighting today, but 5 years from now, it may be another one of our species, indigenous to the Southeast, that may be your problem.
Identification of breeding and breeding habitat of the vectors is important, on a localized basis, and learning how to modify a habitat. Our questions are: What specific insects are vectoring the disease? What are the important alternate hosts? What percentage of our native vines are infected? Are tolerant root stocks a significant source of inoculum? And what conditions favored the recent outbreaks in low-transition or probability areas?
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, we do have a burgeoning winegrape industry. It has a great impact on our State, and I'm fully supportive of the work that's being done in California. Many of our answers have come from California and will continue to come from California. We specifically need a few research dollars to answer questions on a localized basis, and it is my position that that may be in the best interests of the winegrape industry overall.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kamas appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. POMBO. Thank you very much.
I'd like to recognize Mr. Calvert for any questions he has.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Blua, to capsulize your testimony, when I listened to your testimony, are you saying that unless this pest is stopped dead in its tracks, that if a cure isn't found for Pierce's disease, would you say it would be too dramatic to say that the California wine industry will be destroyed?
Mr. BLUA. That's the sort of the question that scientists hate to answer, but I think it's a valuable one. I think that is one of the possibilities, actually. It could beif the glassy-winged sharpshooter spreads to this area, it could destroy this part of grape growing in this area, and it could spread to other parts of the State, too. Certainly, the temperature and the host range will not restrict the sharpshooter from being in this area and other areas of California. That's certainly within the realm of possibilities.
Mr. CALVERT. It's been said that the vineyards in the Napa Valley have been affected by Pierce's disease, but the vector has been, in this area, blue-green sharpshooter. In Temecula, of course, we have the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which has been, as you mentioned, extremely efficient in transmitting the disease.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Can you estimate how quickly this area, Napa Valley, could be infested with the glassy-winged sharpshooter if, in fact, it was able to get into this valley?
Mr. BLUA. There is a couple of things that will modify how fast it comes into it. First of all, our resolve to keep it out of this area will be one thing. That has a lot to do with how the glassy-winged sharpshooter disperses on its own. We don't have a good perspective of that yet, and how it moves on nursery stock. Right now, the nursery industry is very interested in this problem. We've had meetings with the nursery industry, and they are looking for guidelines to examine their nursery stock to keep it from moving the glassy-winged sharpshooter, as eggs or as adults, on their plants to northern California.
The natural dispersion of adults is another question. They don't migrate, but they can travel a long distance on short, hopping flights. If we depend on them getting here just by their natural dispersion, it will take quite some time. So there is a very nice, long buffer of time for us to work on. I don't know how long that time will be. It could be several years to maybe 10 years before it gets established here.
Like I said, host availability and temperatures will not keep it out of this area.
Mr. CALVERT. All right. If, in fact, it could come to this area, what level of resources are we going to need to make sure that it doesn't come to this area, and to fight the pest, and to work toward future eradication of Pierce's disease?
Mr. BLUA. In terms of what we need, researchwise, to find solutions to this problem, I said last year that we needed six figures for multiple years. I think that, given how quickly it has spread throughout Temecula, and how quickly it has devastated the area, I would bump that estimate up by an order of one to two magnitudes. So now I think we're in the millions or tens of millions of dollars to make a strong impact in a fairly short time.
Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Pauli, you indicated, in your testimony, that obviously we need to broaden the scopeand Mr. DeLuca, you mentioned that, also, in your testimonyof this. It's not just the wine industry. In your position, you represent the entire industry. It's also the citrus industry. I understand there's a strain of Pierce's in Brazil that's already killed 60,000 acres of citrus. So that vector, or that strain of Pierce's disease could eventually make it up here to California.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you think all of the fruit and vegetable industry will get on board on fighting this problem?
Mr. PAULI. Yes, sir, I do. I think that the industry as a whole, not only the grape industry. Let's not forget the table-grape and raisin industry, because they're going to be impacted as well, and we sort of overlook them, sometimes. Clearly, the almond industry is at the front of this as well, in Kern County, and growers there tell me there's no question that they've seen it, and they have it. Now, times haven't been that good for them, and things are a little rough, and they haven't focused on it as much, but it's going to affect not only the grapes and the almonds, but then we're going to see it in plums and nectarines, and up through the valley on peaches and other crops.
So yes, it's going to affect the nursery people in terms of what they're able to ship and what the impacts are going to be on some of those different plants and species that they want to grow and ship.
Mr. CALVERT. Lastly, I'd like to remark, Mr. DeLuca, on the Manhattan Project. I can't remember the general, right off the top of my head. I think he was referred to as ''the fat man'' years ago, who actually coordinated the Manhattan Project to keep all the scientists moving in the right direction. No disrespect to the scientific community, but sometimes they work in different directions and ways.
I think that someone like that should be recommended by the industry to make sure that all this information is coordinated correctly.
Mr. RADANOVICH. You mean a fat man?
Mr. CALVERT. Yes.
Mr. DELUCA. One of things that you have brought us together, is, again, reminding us of the affinity of interests, the community of interest. Agriculture, in general, has had to reach out, given the demographics and the dispersion of political power at the Federal level, and we have learned, all of us, to deal with others, outside of the State of California, depend on you primarily, but our whole strategy, with education, with high tech, identifying interests overseas, agriculture within itself, the whole effort over the last several years is one that we don't have to reinvent.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we're going to build on it. Certainly, here, Bill was one of 50 who are part of the American Farm Bureau, reaching out all across the country. Karen and I have been bipartisan in reaching out to so many across the country. I think you are representative of that. The Wine Caucus has members who do not have grapes growing in their districts. We like to see ourselves as a bridge between the urban left and the rural right, as you all know. We need everybody on this because it does have national implications in terms of jobs. In our industry, we don't just grow grapes. We have corks. We have bottles. We have labels. We have Teamster contracts. It's a very important component of our industry. We're going to reach out to members and associate members to assist you, but I believe, again, for our credibility, not only do we have to reach out to others, but we have to be prepared to add another component, which is cost-sharing, to make your job a lot easier advocating for us.
Mr. POMBO. I think that the question that Mr. Calvert just asked is extremely important, and I would like to give time to the other members of the panel to answer that, because we are talking about a substantial amount of private-sector money, a substantial amount of Federal and State dollars, that would go into this fight, and there has to be a lead agency. There has to be a commission, advisory committee, something that takes a lead role in all of this. I'd like to give the other members of the panel an opportunity to answer that question.
Ms. ROSS. I was just going to say that it seems well-positioned to continue using the infrastructure that we have in California, where we do have a task force in place that involves scientists, agricultural commissioners, farm advisors. That's a unique part of our infrastructure here that really helps us solve things from the ground up, and incorporate some USDA people. I know we've done it in the past in California on Med fly issues, where we've had an international scientific advisory panel that has then helped us make the progress that we've done on Med fly eradication projects, for example.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it seems to me that it would be well-positioned to have something built out of what's already been put in place, with a lot of time and effort and research, of how to go from here, and incorporate and reach out to other academic institutions, other Departments of Agriculture, because we already have the In Fact model in place, but to put a project manager in charge of that. Someone who can tie together the scientific knowledge, what's going on, keep up to date with what's going on, and where the money is being spent.
We have a really successful model in wine and winegrapes, called the American Viticulture Education and Research Network, which looks at national priorities that are established by the industry, but part of what comes out of that is not just establishing priorities, but making sure there's not duplication, that we're spending the money we have wisely. That's in our best interests, as private industry, and it's in your best interests as stewards of Government funds.
So I think that it would work well, building out of the model that we have here in California, and bringing in some other national and international resources to work with them.
Mr. OPATZ. Congressman Calvert, your question about the introduction of this vector into the North Coast. I would ask you to look out of the window. I see six host species in the garden out here.
In my written testimony, I speak about public landscaping and private landscaping as an issue. This vector will connect the dots very quickly from a riparian problem in a couple of vines around the garden to a serious, serious problem very briefly. I don't have the technical expertise to tell you it's one, 2 or 3 years, but I can promise you that it wouldn't be more than 5 years.
Mr. GLEESON. I would just add on to Karen Ross' comment that it points to needing a coordinator for this issue. It's bigger than all of us, and it will take an individual 40, 60, 80 hours a week to coordinate all the commodities, from a research perspective, and also from a funding perspective.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Calvert, you mentioned that in Brazil, they have a citrus strain. Their government allocated $10 million to address that citrus strain, and they've sequenced the entire genome. And you are right, it is a lot of money. Do we need to do that? I don't think so. I think we can partner with those folks in Brazil who sequenced the strain of xylem for citrus, and build on that for grape, for almond, and all the commodities that are affected by this.
Mr. KAMAS. I just wanted to add few comments, as an outsider, in that it's my understanding that the glassy-winged sharpshooter, right now, is the fire that's ranging that desperately needs the water put on it. But that's going to be the short-term solution. In addition to addressing that, here in California, you have to look down the road.
I deal with pesticides all the time, and I hear a lot of comments about genetic engineering or transgenic plant breeding. It's not going to be a palatable issue to the public, either way. You have to take a look at what is the least of the evils. Certainly, by investing in transgenic breeding, you're doing away with the insecticides that are going to be used to manage this vector, and it's going to be the ultimate solution for the entire wine industry.
What we've seen in Texas is that the epidemic grows in response to mild winter climates. I also work in other commodities, and some of the weather prognosticators are predicting we're going to be in warm winter cycles for the next 15 to 20 years. So this disease is not going to go away, and certainly, these weather patterns are indeed cyclic. So there's going to be something else down the road, and unless there is a long-term solution that's funded, you're going to be throwing money at it, fighting one fire after another.
Mr. POMBO. Before I recognize Mr. Thompson, I just have to say that, in the crops that have been mentioned here, this subcommittee has jurisdiction over livestock and horticulture, which is specialty crops and livestock industry; and when you talk about dollar figures in the amount of money that generates into the U.S. economy, the jurisdiction of this subcommittee is about between 80 and 85 percent of American agriculture.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, we may not be corn, we may not be wheat, but when it comes to dollars, and the impact on the United States of America, we are about 80 percent of American agriculture. So the crops that you are talking about, when it comes to money generated for farmers, are more important nationally than just about anything. So the dollars, when we talk about dollars to fight this disease, if you're talking $5 million, $10 million, $20 million, that's a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars in income that this generates.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, I want to say thank you to the panelists who are here today. I've worked with most of you in the past, and it becomes apparent that I'm going to be working with the rest of you in the future. I just can't think of a better group of people to address this particular problem. Which I think may be the biggest problem that we, in the wine-growing regions have faced in my lifetime, and I've lived in this valley my entire life.
I was taking notes as people were talking, and I find I was getting somewhat frustrated. We talked about when we first found this vector, about 10 years ago, and then I was thinking back to the last panel, and over the course of this, from when we found it to now, it's still a class C problem. We've only found 350,000 Federal dollarsto help move things along. We're still on a voluntary inspection program, and we're talking about phasing out chemicals, or a particular chemical, specifically, that could be used to really give us an edge on this, an upper hand on this until we do complete the research necessary to figure out where we go from here.
It sounds like there is just a terrible amount of duplication of both research and the actual delivery of the service, and I think that's really what we're going to need to come out of this hearing with, in addition to the commitment to provide the money necessary to do this. We need to find out how do we best coordinate, who is that person to best coordinate it, how we can move faster.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Bill, you're absolutely right. We just can't sit around any longer and wait for this to happen, and how do we step up our inspection process to make sure that we can keep it contained, so, Peter, that it doesn't come here in 5 years or 10 years or 3 years.
And I'd like to hear any specific ideas on how we could accomplish those three things.
Ms. ROSS. Are you looking at me?
Mr. THOMPSON. Sure. If it were up to me, I would just put you in charge.
Ms. ROSS. On the one hand, it has been very frustrating, but I think that the people from Temecula, who have really been in the midst of this battle, can speak to how difficult it was to convince the rest of the State that this really was a problem.
One of my biggest frustrations that's been going on since first being aware of this disease, is that it seems like there's more that we don't know than what we do know. We don't know, for sure, how it moves. We don't know what temperature has to do with it. We don't know for sure where it is. We're fairly certain we know where it isn't. We've been working on Pierce's disease on the North Coast. It's been a top-priority project, and we're making progress, but it's science, and it's going to move slowly.
I do believe that a lot of progress has been made because we had to do education and outreach after what Temecula went through, and look at the terrific champions that have come on board, because they were willing to work at the grass-roots level, educate people as to what the problem was, that we were all in this together, and there are some things that we can do. And now they have the pilot program, my association put in the section 18 to use Admire on citrus, and make this work. But that's part of the coordination that, in the long term, will make this work better.
As Secretary Lyons point out, we've had a lot of meetings around the State so that now we have, I think, full engagementwe certainly have full engagement from the winegrape and wine community, and I think we're getting more of that engagement from the growers all around the State, which is part of what's going to make that local program work.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So now is the next step of adding the State resources to do the inspections in southern California to identify those high-risk areas. But part of that has been based on, scientifically, on what's the right time of year to do that. I know they've been consulting with Riverside and other institutions to make sure that's going on.
I think that John touched on it. We have to acknowledge the fact that the political and demographic changes in the State may prevent us from charging forward in the way we would have, even 5 years ago.
Mr. THOMPSON. On the research side, or on the
Ms. ROSS. On taking action for containment and control, because that's really what the real urgency is about, right now, is let's make sure we're not moving it from areas that do have it into areas that don't have it. That's our top priority, right now, is making sure that nothing prevents that type of action from going forward. Until someone tells us exactly how to kill every glassy-winged sharpshooter in the State, I think those are the types of steps that we have to take, and everything is in place, and it is going forward.
Mr. THOMPSON. So what do we need to do to make sure it will go faster?
Ms. ROSS. Money. That's what we're allI think that's part of why we're all here today, is that we're willing to come forward and help with that. That's what helped Temecula move forward, when they started putting some funds into all of that. That's what we started doing several years ago by partnering with the American Vineyard Foundation. But we're seeing that, for the magnitude of this situation, here in California as well as beyond the borders of California, we need to be investingand it is an investment. We need to be investing a lot more.
I would also suggest that crop insurance is a tool that might be a stopgap measure for us growers who have been impacted. I think we need to look at all of those tools as well.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. DeLuca.
Mr. DELUCA. One line of possible approach would be to take advantage of existing resources. We have, forthcoming, many re bonds here in this State, and early indications are that they're probably $3 or $4 billion even beyond the original $6 billion or $7 billion that we were anticipating.
We do have, in the University of California, in its leadership, in the Department of CDFA and Secretary Lyons, people of credibility who I think could assist us in asking our State for a major infusion of money, instead of it being incremental, but to get us going on all the multiplicity of factors that we need to address.
Your committee could assist us with our State government, because you're partners with us in terms of this has to be a State/Federal/international approach. We'll do our job in approaching the administration, but I think that would be one approach.
The other approach is, when we're talking about someone to be in charge, I think the Governor appointing our secretary of CDFA, someone that has the credibility and the credentials for a gubernatorial appointment here, could command the various resources that shouldn't be duplicatedKaren is absolutely right, we want to avoid duplication. I believe there should be someone in charge with a mandate, and it should come out of the ranks here in the State, but working with the other States, as we do, and working with the Federal Government.
I think what we need is this major infusion of funds. The State, right now, has a one-time opportunity. We shouldn't lose it. That's where, I think, in a bipartisan way, we can present this. It's not just for inside baseball stuff, not for us within the agriculture community. The urban community has a stake in this. I notice, in Temecula, it wasn't just the grapes. There was burgeoning tourism, restaurants, the senior citizens there. Ken, you were the first one to call me on this, and I remember Riverside, Temecula moving so fast, understanding the consequences of this.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Then, Congressmen Pombo, Thompson and Radanovich, all of you, I think you have, between you, incredible political capital. We're not asking you to expend it all on this one issue, but it does cross geographical political boundaries. It does cross geographical boundaries. It's very important to our export program overseas.
One of the things I do want to hope is that if we have a course of action, it will reduce the apprehension factor, the sense of siege, the sense of crisis. I don't want our competitors, Australia, Chile, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, telling people, ''Don't count on the California wine industry for the future. They're not going to be reliable partners because they're going to be destroyed in the vineyards.''
So we need a balance with you to move on an urgent basis without this self-generating, self-fulfilling prophecy of panic. That panic will be addressed and will be diffused if, in fact, we have a good game plan, with the money, with the resources that we have at hand. We're here as a good example of how we're able to work out of the private sector with you.
Mr. BLUA. Mr. Thompson, I want to mention a couple of things. With regard to the research community, there has not been any duplication of effort. We're all fairly aware of what each other is doing, and it's not only because we talk a lot, but because we have a lot of stake with what each other is doing, particularly when we work with people like Patrick Gleeson of the American Vineyard Foundation. He keeps us very well abreast of what's going on. So, in terms of our funding the same project twice, that just doesn't happen right now. Not only that, there's not that many people that do this kind of research.
Mr. POMBO. Are you talking about nationally or just within California?
Mr. BLUA. No, we're pretty aware of what is going on nationally, too. In fact, we work with Russ Mizell and his group at the University of Florida. We've had various meetings with him. I'm in constant e-mail contact with his staff and the people he works with at the University of Florida. They are the only other place that has big problems with glassy-winged sharpshooters. They've been doing work there for 15 years with it.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KAMAS. I'd simply like to add that, yes, that is the perspective of the growers in the southeast part of the United States, that we're not trying to reinvent the wheel. All we're trying to do is, we need some start-up funds, just money to drive the pick-ups down the road for scouts, and what we really need is to develop collegial relationships with the people in this State and in Florida. We don't want to reinvent the wheel.
Mr. WEAVER. Congressman Thompson, you asked what needs to be done. There is a couple of things besides money. One is, we need to get over this process of being in denial. A number of us went into that in the Temecula Valley. Oh, I'm not going to get Pierce's disease because the closest citrus grove is 4 miles away from me, and yet they have it right now.
Sitting here, looking outside the window, we have six host plants, and counting. The number is 70 or 80, and it could be 200 before this thing's all over. Russ Mizell, at the symposium in Sacramento, talked about alternate feeding hosts. They don't just stay on citrus, or they don't just stay on eucalyptus. They'll fly to other ones. If they don't have the most perfect host plant up here, they'll find one.
Ten million dollars a year is spent in Australia for research in viticulture. I believe most of that comes from the government, not from voluntary funds. Thank you.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Ms. Ross, you brought up the idea that, not only do we have to deal with the vector itself, but also with Pierce's disease. I've got a couple of questions, and these are no-brainers, but is it Pierce's disease in almonds and citrus, or is it something else?
Ms. ROSS. I think you need to ask the scientists, but it's the Xylella bacteria is what's common in like almond leaf scorch
Mr. BLUA. Yes. The same strain that causes Pierce's disease also causes almond leaf scorch in some cases, but not all cases. There are various strains that cause different diseases in different plants. For example, the oleander leaf scorch strain does not go into grapes, and the Pierce's disease strain does not reproduce at all in oleander. It's a very complicated issue.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RADANOVICH. In grapes, to my knowledge, Pierce's disease has been out there a long time. It's been a pest that's been managed. In absence of a vector, it was viewed as a disease that people lived with, as least to my knowledge. I'm trying to get to the point of what it's going to take to get a cure for this thing. Because of that fact, I think that there has not been a lot of attention paid to this disease.
If we get some funding, is it possible, with all the funding that's needed, are we fairly close to a solution to this, or what?
Mr. BLUA. I think you've really hit it on the head because we've been able to live with Pierce's disease for so many years simply because it was an edge-effect situation. One of the things you're likely to see in that area is, next to a riparian area, several rows of vines will be very young, very small vines. The further you go into the vineyard, the vines get bigger and bigger. You can basically live with the situation here, at some level at least.
Over the last several years, it's been getting worse and worse. The coup de grace is the glassy-winged sharpshooter that spreads it many meters into the vineyard, so we're not talking about the edge effect anymore. The wine industry cannot live for very long with the spread at the level that we're seeing in Temecula.
Ms. ROSS. And, Congressman, it's easy for me to say that we're living with it, but I think, if you talk to the growers in the North Coast area, in particular, Pete mentioned he's been trying to cope with Pierce's disease most of his career. And I think that's why it came up several years as a top-priority, long-term research funding need through the AVF survey, and so we really started to take a look at that because we made a huge investment in replanting for Phylloxera, and then we were coming back in and finding Pierce's disease.
So it was understanding how it was coming in to those vineyards, looking at some riparian habitat management issues. But also, we did begin, before this particular situation, as an industry, we focused on long-term needs for solving Pierce's disease. So we had started that, but with the discovery of how the glassy-winged sharpshooter is delivering it more efficiently, it's just accelerated the need to do that.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you.
Mr. DeLuca, you answered one of the questions I was going to ask regarding a coordinator. It sounds like, in your opinion, it would likely be somebody through CDFA to help coordinate this whole effort?
Mr. DELUCA. I'm just thinking, especially, in terms of the necessary resources, we already have a secretary of one of the leading nations in the world here in California. Bill Lyons would go overseas and meet with the ministers of agriculture of the major nations, commands great resources, personally, professionally, and the outreach throughout the State; and, then, working with various other bodies that we have. Certainly, the University of California in all of its campuses, with various county extensions and cooperative extensions.
In other words, I think you need the credentials and the credibility, rather than bringing in someone that would be imposed on the industry, but someone everybody already is familiar working with, just because of the need for time and working on an accelerated basis.
Mr. RADANOVICH. I think that one of the things that would help Members that are back in Congress trying toyou know, in this hearing, I have not heard an amount that probably we should ask for. We're beginning the budget cycle. We're beginning the appropriations process, and I could see the possibility of getting, you know, there's 52 Members from California, and if we all got our act together, we could do a lot of things, but we never do get our act together, or not very often, because we're such a diverse State.
But I think that, through the California delegation developing some unit on this thing, I think it's possibleMike might agree on the Democrat side, but also through the Wine Caucus, that's got about 80 members, that we could work, there is a bit of a number that we could use in Congress to spread the word.
I would suggest treating it dually, one for eradication and control of the sharpshooter, but also for research and technology to solve the puzzle with regard to the disease. If we couldbut I don't hear a number, and that's the frustration that I have. If we could get unified, if it's $10, $20 million, whatever it is, if we could get a number, we could start working in this appropriations cycle.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CALVERT. On that point, rather than just saying the number today, that you all come up with a pretty good estimate of what that is, and that way, we're singing off the same sheet of music and we can all look for those type of resources.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Then we can go to the California delegation and the Wine Caucus, and we can start working the appropriators. I would think that Ms. DeLuca, Mr. Ross and you, Bill, could all come back and
Mr. DELUCA. I'd like to volunteer Bill Pauli as the representative that has the outreach. The Texas colleague that made this presentation obviously brings to mind all those legislators of the Gulf Coast, Virginia, all through the south, where we could, in fact, make a community-of-interests approach with the farm bureaus, farm representatives in every one of the States.
I'd like to work with Karen, and everybody else on this panel, but I would think, to give you a number that would be representative, alfalfa, peaches, almonds, rice, citrus, winegrapes, the best person that we have in the State who has that large a constituency is Bill Pauli. I think he would be in a position, working with all of us, to come back with a number that we could give you. Right. Bill?
Mr. PAULI. Right. You know, I've thought about this, and to a few of you, I've mentioned some numbers, and I know everybody's head has a lot of numbers; but I've thrown out a number of $25 million to get the ball started. I've broken that down into a couple of areas. I know that some people sort of jerk, but listen, we're talking about a $33 billion industry here. We're not talking about one segment of the community or one part of the State.
We all hear about the magnitude of the problem and how quickly we need to get started. You know, the counties need money. We need to find a grant program, in my mind, for the county agriculture commissioners to get some money immediately to help them understand the problem, to understand containment, to understand how to eliminate the movement. Because, as was said down here a few minutes ago, the one thing we don't want to do is inadvertently spread this creep.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I don't know what the answer to that, but you know the four agriculture commissioners don't have the resources. I mean, they don't even know where to go to ask for it. They can't wait until clear next fall to start to get some money. They're not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. They're talking $25,000 or $50,000. If you multiply the number of counties in this State, that's not very much money if you gave every one of them $50,000.
If you talk a little bit in terms of the universities, in terms of CDFA, there's going to have to be some pockets of money here for everybody to try to collectively get up to speed, and a lot of it will, perhaps m have been spinning of the wheels, but you've got to get started.
Mr. RADANOVICH. It would be helpful to get an idea of what it would cost for the effort, and also what private industry might come up with, what State government, what's their share, and then what we should be asking the fed.
Ms. ROSS. If I could just add, I've been working very closely with the Department on what a comprehensive statewide containment program would cost, and early on, the estimates were between 5 and $10 million. But I noticed that today, in Secretary Lyons' testimony, he put the pricetag on that type of a program at $7.14 million. That's just for the let's stop the movement of the glassy-wing, and that's one part of what we're looking at.
I know that I put forward some numbers that have come from discussions with the Wine Institute, American Vinters Association, and others, as a starting point for the Pierce's disease problem, because we do have dollars that have already been committed to research. At least $1 million through California, coordinated with other States, for Pierce's disease research, plus a commitment for two additional agricultural service slots to be focused exclusively on Pierce's disease research.
Now, that just may be the beginning step, and if you feel that this is the year that we should be looking at an even a more comprehensive research program, that won't be a problem.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GLEESON. One other observation with regard to a dollar amount that was thrown out, I think, if we're going to attract researchers who have been working on tomatoes, or whatever other commodity, to work on our problem, they're going to ask for what time period will you commit these funds for. I know that's difficult to say to these sums, on an annual basis, will be committed for 5 years, but that's the first question that we get as a research organization is, ''Great, I know that you have all that money. Is that one year, because we can't accomplish all these things that you want us to in 1 year; is it a 3-year or 5-year?''
So I would maybe also work with this panel to identify a time frame that's realistic for those funds that we will ask for.
Mr. RADANOVICH. Thank you.
Mr. POMBO. You're talking about taking on my tomato guys, too?
Mr. THOMPSON. How is that tomato wine?
Mr. PAULI. Your tomato guys ought to look at this as, if all these grapes come out, what do you think we're going to plant? We're planting tomatoes.
Mr. POMBO. The former president of the California Cattlemen's Association told me a few years ago that he tore out his pasture and planted grapes. He said, ''What do you expect me to do?'' He was trying to make some money. Being a cattleman, I can understand.
Mr. Pauli, you have the position of speaking for American agriculture, for California agriculture, and as Mr. DeLuca said, if we were a nation, we would be, I believe, it's the seventh largest country in terms of agricultural production. This issue that we've been discussing, I think, is more the symptom of a much bigger problem, and we, in California, are on the frontlines in this battle. A couple of weeks ago, when I was in Florida, I heard a different disease, a different problem, but a lot of the same testimony.
And Ms. Ross, in her statement, in an answer to what can we do, her response was money. After she said that, I started thinking about it. In the time that you and I have been working together on these issues, if you want to solve this problem, I think that you have on look at more than just the money. You have to look at the regulatory side of what we do. You have the Endangered Species Act, which would restrict your ability to control this pest. You have the Food Quality Protection Act, which has a potential of restricting the tools that you can use.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Clean Water Act. We have a problem with the hyacinth in the delta. A lawsuit was just filed to stop the spraying of the hyacinth in the delta, which has the ability to take over the entire delta and ruin the California Delta. You have the Clean Air Act, which lawsuits have been filed to stop the use of pesticides under the Clean Air Act.
You have trade agreements that we are continually entering into, and in my opinion, agriculture takes a back seat in many of those trade agreements.
I'd like to ask you, how do we have more of a coordinated effort on what is a much bigger problem in how does the California Farm Bureau, how do you go about bringing us together on attacking this problem as a whole?
Mr. PAULI. Thank you, Congressman, for the simple question. You know, it's an a philosophical kind of question, and I think it goes back to some of the fundamental issues that we're going to deal with on the farm program.
What are we going to do, from a social standpoint, in terms of protecting small producers and our small farmers and the rural way of life? How important is it that we have food produced here on our own shores? What is it we do to balance the need of our communities and our species and our habitat and our quality of life? How do we do those things without destroying one segment over another? How far can the pendulum swing one way, and then try to swing back?
We're going through, I think, a generation where we're trying to find that new balance and correct what maybe have been some indifferences to certain types of problems in the past, and figure out ways to deal with that in the future. All of a sudden, we see, from a lot of directions, a lot of big-picture regulations to try to deal with issues, you know, air, water, land, pesticides, those different things.
How do we find this balance? I think we're in this gray area right now where we, collectively, don't know, and this is where leadership is going to be so important from people like yourselves, as our elected leaders, to help us find solutions to those difficult questions and a balance. You know, we talk about balance. We talk about finding a way to implement regulations in a fair and effective way, a way intended by leadership and by the elected leaders who do them. How do we get that down through the layers of government?
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You think about, right now, I think about, in USDA, the years and years which it took to build up the ability of APHIS to deal with pests and pest outbreaks; and maybe, in recent times, we've dismantled some of that because of a lack of funding, because if you don't have the technicians, those people there who have the science, who have the history and the knowledge, and issues like this come along, we can't solve it.
I think we've got big challenges as to how we implement regulations and make them effective across the board.
Mr. POMBO. Mr. DeLuca.
Mr. DELUCA. Yes. I was struck by the fact that you said that you were recently in Florida, and of course, your subcommittee has jurisdiction over what is essentially 80 percent of the U.S. agriculture. I would believe that, with the presidential campaigns about to come to the point where they will be nominating the candidates for both parties, that these questions should be injected at a presidential level in debates.
I think one of the important things is to help educate a whole group of people. Presidential debates have been, to the best of my knowledge, not even touching on the questions that you raised. You know, we're talking about other hot buttons. That's a problem for agriculture. How does a voice get heard and resonate across the country? So much is taken for granted. We do our job so well that people take us for granted.
As people move into the cities, more and more, the representation is thinking of urban affairs. But it could be introduced into the high-tech debate, into the issue of education, agriculture literacy in the classrooms. Putting together an agriculture summit this year, while so much is focused on national thoughts, and your committee, in a bipartisan way, working with others, with Rich Rominger. Here we are, we're going to loseafter 8 years, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture who knows California agriculture so intimately. Dan Glickman has come out here on a number of surveys. You put them together.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think if we could, using your questions, raise them to the national level, and to bring ourselves in as support arms for you, in terms of resources, so that in terms of an agenda that you put together, we all pull together to learn the people, and you've got them right here on this panel, part of it.
Another question is how does agriculture make its voice known in this new century. We see, looking back one century, how we have been reduced in terms of political impact, and yet we're feeding the world. We've never used food as a political tool, but we certainly could used food as an educational tool.
So I submit to you that you're raising the biggest question, far beyond the vector, the sharpshooter, and that is the role of agriculture in American society, in public policy and setting priorities, and you're right. In all of the export debates that I've been involved in, we've always been the compensation for concessions. We've always been the bargaining chip for others.
So to reduce that role takes a dramatic event or series of events. Whoever is going to be elected president should be asked these questions. And you, working with us, are in a position to help, our governor, our States, our different representatives. The Wine Caucus is one of the best developments in modern times. I think over 100I keep telling people it's 100. With the new electionsanyway, to make the point, an agriculture summit on the importance of agriculture in the United States, and research as a component of it.
When we talk about $10, $15, $20 million, and you know of the $500 million, and the billions of dollars that are going into so many other projects, that amount pales in comparison. I think you're in a position, with your subcommittee, representing 80 percent of U.S. agriculture, to ask the Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, and Rich Rominger, to pull these resources together at the regulatory administrative level, and we will help with whatever resources that we can. Bill's got access to 49 other States who have Farm Bureaus.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. I'll just say that, with the regulatory environment that we have created in this country, for the continued production of agricultural products, we are at loggerheads right now. Congress has to do something. You are going to have the presidential candidates unleashed on this State in another week, or actually the end of this week they're all going to be out here.
Mr. THOMPSON. Tomorrow.
Mr. POMBO. These guys are going to be out here asking for your support, and the questions are going to have to be put to these people, and it's going to have to be, what are you going to do to change the regulatory environment so we can survive?
I've been intimately involved with all of these issues, and I can tell you, I can see so many problems with trying to handle this particular Pierce's disease. I mean, you start talking about the pesticide application in an area where we've got other insects that are on the endangered species list, you think for one second that Fish and Wildlife is going to let you spray?
I was in Florida 2 weeks or 3 weeks ago, and they were talking about the effort to eradicate the Asian longhorn beetle, to wipe it out. I have got the elderberry longhorn beetle, which is an endangered species, in my district, and they won't let us fix the levee banks because of it.
We've got all these problems that are laid out in front of us, and a lot of it falls back on us, that we've got to fix some of these laws, but we need your help in order to do that.
Mike, you have something?
Mr. THOMPSON. I just want to mention some of my friends who are here have heard me say this before. The nut we have to crack is a lot bigger that what we were just talking about, and I remember back when I first sought public office, and we had a poll in 1989. It was a poll that was done in the eight counties in which I was running for the State senate, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, and Shasta Counties, and 64 percent of the people polled said that agriculture didn't have a single thing to do with their day-to-day life.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We've got a challenge, and it's incumbent upon all of us to make sure that people understand how important agriculture is, and all aspects of agriculture.
Mr. DELUCA. I hate to hog this conversation, but you're all aware that we all worked together to get, for K through 12, in our budget for this State, that we would have agriculture literacy starting in kindergarten up to the 12th grade, and having a garden in every public school in the State. It took a lot of effort, but it required bipartisanship. It required working with Democrats and Republicans, so it wasn't seen as a political issue.
We've got to educate our community. We know, long term, that we have to. We have to have people literate in this State, the leading agricultural State in the union, about water and land and pesticides and endangered species, so they not only know where the milk is coming from, but all these other issues.
Now, we've lost time; but looking at the calendar, we have to look forward. And I think it has to be integrated. Just like you have Integrated Pest Management, you have to have integrated education management, so that you have your citizens fundamentally informed so that, in the barrios of Los Angeles, they know how important agriculture is to the State, not just here in our own country.
Mr. POMBO. I thank all of you. I wanted to give my colleagues an opportunity to make any closing remarks that they want at this time.
Mr. Calvert, if you have anything you wanted to say.
Mr. CALVERT. Just to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for coming here to Napa to chair this meeting. I want to thank all of our witnesses today, the panel, and the people that make this industry what it is. Thank you, and hopefully, we'll do our job, and you'll continue to do yours, and we'll continue to enjoy wine and the culture and the life-style that we export to everywhere else in this country and throughout the world. Thank you very much.
Mr. RADANOVICH. I'm done. Thank you.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. POMBO. Our host, Mr. Thompson.
Mr. THOMPSON. Well, I'll just associate myself with the thank-you remarks, Mr. Chairman. It's great to have you here, and I really appreciate the leadership you've shown, as I said before, as well as Dan and George, the work that you're doing and the leadership that you've all shown.
And thank you to all of you who came out and participated in the hearing today, and a special thanks, again, to St. Supery for hosting the panel.
Mr. DELUCA. Usually, you don't end up this way, but we should be thanking you.
Mr. POMBO. I want to thank the panel, for your testimony, your answers to the questions, and in terms of my colleagues, the people who are sitting up here are the ones who have consistently brought this particular problem to the forefront, over the past year, and tried to educate people and elevate the extent of this problem. I know that the testimony that we received here today will go a long way in furthering the education effort that we all have in front of us and, hopefully, ultimately leading, one day, to a solution.
So I want to thank you all for being here today, and thanks for your participation. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:32 p.m. the subcommittee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]
Statement of Karen Ross
My name is Karen Ross and I am president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). On behalf of our members, thank you for holding this hearing concerning the current outbreak of Pierce's disease in California. Our association was created in 1974 to represent the interests of growers at the State and Federal level. CAWG's current membership grows approximately 60 percent of the total tonnage of grapes crushed for wine and concentrate.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Winegrapes are the ultimate value-added agricultural crop. According to a recent report commissioned by Wine Institute and CAWG, wine is California's No. 1 finished agricultural product. The report by MKF Research established the full economic impact of the wine industry on the State of California at a total of $33 billion, including direct, indirect, and induced economic benefits. The winegrape and wine industry contributes to the California economy in diverse ways. It generates jobs, exports, tax revenues, and tourism.
According to the report, 847 wineries and 4,400 grape growers create 145,000 full-time equivalent jobs for $4.3 billion in wages. The retail value of California wine is $12.3 billion. Tourism expenditures are $1.2 billion with 10.7 million visitors. In California, the wine community pays $1 billion in taxes and makes charitable contributions totaling $62 million.
California enjoys an environment ideally suited for the production of high quality grapes in terms of climate, soil, and weather. Vineyards represent a long-term commitment with a significant statewide investment by families and family owned corporations. Growers and wineries invested $1.89 billion in vineyard development in 199798. In the last 10 years grape acreage has increased by 32 percent, from 324,054 acres to 427,283 acres. Strong consumer demand for California wine at home and abroad has driven the recent acreage growth.
The future for continued growth and profitability is bright but Mother Nature rules our destiny. Frost can impact our yields, early fall rains can harm our quality, and diseases like Phylloxera can force loss of production and expensive replanting. The cruelest fate handed to a grower is the potential loss of a vineyard to disease when there is no hope for replacing itand that's the chilling fear presented to California winegrape growers by Pierce's disease (Pd).
At this time there is no solution for Pierce's disease. As an industry we have raised money for research and provided matching funds to secure State and Federal investment in viticulture research, including long-term research to find effective treatments for Pierce's disease. However, the arrival of the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) and its ability to spread Xylella fastidiosa, the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease, requires a significant increase in research funding and a comprehensive plan to stop the movement of the GWSS.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCA PROGRAM TO STOP THE MOVEMENT OF THE GLASSY-WINGED SHARPSHOOTER
We know the GWSS, which spread Pierce's disease throughout Temecula's 3,000 acres of vineyards, is now in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, and Kern counties. It is absolutely critical that we stop the pest from moving into other areas of the State where grapes, almonds, citrus and alfalfa crops are susceptible to diseases caused by the Xylella fastidiosa bacterium.
CAWG has worked closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, agricultural commissioners and industry organizations to make the grower community aware of the threat posed by the Glassy-winged sharpshooter and for the need to monitor for the pest. Early detection of the pest provides our best opportunity for managing it. But the GWSS represents an emergency situation for our State and we need assistance to be successful.
We urge the subcommittee to support funds for USDA efforts to pay for a comprehensive containment and control program. To be effective, the program needs to include the following elements:
(1) An intensive inspection program in southern California to identify high priority areas with nurseries at risk of shipping plant materials from infested areas to production areas in central and northern California. We must do all that we can to prevent the shipment of infested materials into non-infested counties.
Such a program will require agricultural commissioners to implement an ongoing inspection program of all nurseries in southern California. It will also require the development of a voluntary compliance program that includes a treatment protocol to assure that stock is free of adult Glassy-winged sharpshooters and their eggs before it is shipped. This program needs to begin immediately.
(2) Implementation of a detection program to assure that stock shipped into California is free of adult GWSS and eggs. This would require filing of a 008 form at border stations to provide notification to county agricultural commissioners that a shipment is arriving for a point of destination inspection. Shipments would not be unloaded until the commissioner inspects and determines the stock is free of adult GWSS and eggs.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (3) Development of local management plans in all regions of the State to provide for early GWSS detection with ongoing trapping and monitoring. The plans need to provide protocol for actions to be taken when the pest is detected and an agreed upon treatment protocol to eradicate the pest.
(4) A statewide program manager to coordinate the activities related to research, management and control of Pierce's disease and the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter.
Although our immediate focus is on what to do about the GWSS, the real problem is Pierce's disease which kills the vine. Additional funding is needed to figure out the disease. We request the subcommittee's support to fund the following research needs:
(1) $1 million in fiscal year 2001 for a Cooperative State Research Education Extension Service (CSREES) special research grant to study ways to defeat this epidemic. To be effective, this research needs to be coordinated with the University of California and other States to draw on all available expertise to solve the problem. If international experts have made progress in understanding the Xylella fastidiosa we should also reach out to them to help develop a solution.
(2) An increase in Agricultural Research Service (ARS) appropriations of $300,000 from the level provided in fiscal year 2000 for a new research position at Davis, California. There is a need for additional researchers because Pierce's disease and related plant bacterial diseases represents a serious new threat to California grape production and poses a threat to the long-term health of citrus crops and other fruit, nut and ornamental crops in California and throughout the southern United States.
(3) An increase in ARS appropriations of $300,000 from the level provided in fiscal year 2000 for a new research position in another part of the country.
In addition to Pierce's disease Xylella fastidiosa causes almond leaf scorch, alfalfa dwarf, oleander leaf scorch, and citrus variegated chlorosis. The bacterium has been under study for years and there does not appear to be an easy or quick way to manage the diseases it causes without an accelerated research program dedicated to finding a solution.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFEDERAL CROP INSURANCE
Winegrape growers in California have increased their participation in the Federal crop insurance program and recognize it as a critical element in their risk management plans. The threat posed by the spread of Pierce's disease and loss of grapevines suggests that we should carefully examine whether there can be viable options added to the program to provide for vine and tree replacement coverage, coverage for crop loss due to government-imposed quarantines, and coverage for non-bearing acreage after the first year of planting. We have contacted the west coast office of USDA's Risk Management Agency and will be working with them to determine if any of these concepts can be turned into economically viable options for the program.
California's wine industry has become a premier part of our State's economy and landscape. California winegrape growers have made tremendous progress in the implementation of Integrated Pest Management and sustainable viticultural practices that benefit the quality of our wines and the environment in which we live and work. All of that is threatened if we can't stop the spread of Pierce's disease.
We appreciate your consideration of our request for assistance and look forward to working with you to keep California wine as the State's No. 1 finished agricultural product. Thank you for this opportunity to comment.
Statement of Patrick Gleeson
Good morning, my name is Patrick Gleeson and I am the executive director of the American Vineyard Foundation (AVF). As a voluntary non-profit research organization for the wine and grape industry, the AVF is charged with investing in and managing the research programs that are focused on meeting the industry's highest priorities.
For the past several years, Pierce's disease (PD) has been ranked by the vintners and growers as one of the highest research priorities for the industry. Since 1995, the AVF has invested over $550,000 in PD research. The AVF, in partnership with the wine and grape industry, the Temecula Valley Grape Growers Association, the North Coast Pierce's disease Task Force, the Viticulture Consortium Program, the city of Temecula, the County of Riverside and the California Department of Food & Agriculture will invest a total of $1.3 million in PD research programs for fiscal year 19992000. In addition, the USDA has allocated $360,000 for Admire treatments on citrus in the Temecula region, and another $100,000 came from the USDA to help support PD research at the University California, Davis and University of California, Riverside.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The wine and grape industry has been working closely with the research community to address the PD outbreak. Vintners and growers are astounded by the rate and spread of PD in regions up and down the State of California. For example, 2 years ago, PD was of only moderate concern in Temecula Valley. Today, it has reached epidemic proportions. If we are going to be successful in the battle against PD, we must continue to work in partnership with the USDA, the California Department of Food & Agriculture and State and local governments in a focused, coordinated manner.
In an effort to minimize research duplication and to maximize the available PD research funds, the AVF developed a long-term PD research program in 1998. The purpose of the long-term research program is to provide greater funding and program continuity for this high priority issue. Going in its third year, this multidisciplinary PD research team is working on the entomology, molecular biology, genetics, plant anatomy, xylem chemistry and viticultural practices in a coordinated fashion under one umbrella. The PD program was designed to be flexible. In consultation with the AVF, the research team is encouraged to add research expertise and objectives as needed to keep pace with this complex problem. In addition, the program has a balance of short, medium and long-term research objectives.
To further strengthen the PD research efforts, researchers from across the United States must work together in a collaborative fashion to maximize research expertise and funds. We must also be open to collaborating with researchers internationally if they fill a research gap. A collaborative research effort is the most efficient approachwe can not allow researchers to work in a vacuum on their own individual pieces of the puzzle.
This morning we have heard a lot about PD and the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter (GWSS), the vector that is spreading Xylella fastidiosa (Xf), the bacterium that causes PD in grapevines. It is important to note that grape is not the only commodity being affected and threatened by the GWSS and Xf. The GWSS and strains of Xf also threaten citrus crops, stone fruits, nut and ornamental crops in California and throughout the southern United States. Xf causes almond leaf scorch, alfalfa dwarf, oleander leaf scorch, and citrus variegated chlorosis. Coordinating our research efforts with those of other commodities will accelerate research progress. The spread and movement of the GWSS into other regions of the State must be slowed or stopped from the southern California counties where GWSS has been found. In the short-term we need to manage and control the spread of GWSS to buy time for the longer-term research solution, which is dealing with the bacterium. If we can solve the bacterium question, GWSS and the other vectors that carry the bacterium are no longer a concern.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you can see, PD is not just a regional concern for northern California or southern California, it is a serious statewide and national threat to grape production and many other commodities. In closing, I would like to thank you for your support and attention towards this matter and the AVF looks forward to working with you in addressing the PD outbreak.
Statement of Matthew J. Blua
Throughout the history of grape production in California, Pierce's disease (PD) has been a major obstacle for grape-growers. The first major epidemic of PD in California occurred in the 1880's and devastated a wine-grape industry in Anaheim that consisted of 4050 thousand acres of grapevines. This malady is important in most grape-growing areas of California, particularly in the north-coastal areas of Napa and Sonoma Counties. PD is induced by a bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, that is mainly spread by a few species of native insects, most of which are large leafhoppers known as sharpshooters. This bacterium is acquired from infected plants when these insects feeds from the water-conducting tissue where the bacterium grows. Many plants support the growth of X. fastidiosa, but few plants like grapes support so much growth that the bacterium grows enough to clog this water-conducting tissue and cause a disease. Once acquired, the bacterium replicates in the insects mouthparts so the vector can spread the pathogen to other plants throughout its life. Generally in California, disease spread is related to proximity of vector habitat. Because native vectors do not fly far, infected vines are typically confined to the edges of vineyards, and grape-growers can be productive in spite of the constant battle against PD.
In 1997, the grape-growing area of Temecula in southern California began experiencing outbreaks of PD for the first time. Since then, my field investigations revealed that a vector new to California is spreading PD in this system. This insect, the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (GWSS), is native to the southeastern U.S., and is a well known vector of the strain of X. fastidiosa responsible for PD, and other strains that induce disease in other plants. The GWSS is also responsible for the spread of a strain that induces a disease of oleander in southern California. The GWSS was first identified in collections from Orange and Ventura counties in 1990. Its current distribution is from San Diego County, the southern-most county on the California coast, to Santa Barbara County in the central California coast, it northern-most extension. It's distribution extends inland to western Riverside and San Bernardino counties. In the summer of 1998, it was discovered in Kern County, in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, the largest agricultural region of the State.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The spread of PD in Temecula advanced from scattered ''hot spots'' in 1998 to overwhelming devastation in 1999, with some vineyards over 90 percent infected. We are experiencing a rapid epidemic for two reasons. First, relative to native PD vectors, the GWSS disperses widely from source hosts in short ''hopping'' flights, and spreads the PD bacterium far into vineyards. Second, because it can feed from woody tissue (native vectors cannot) it can inoculate grapevines with the PD bacterium near the permanent parts of the grapevine. This allows the bacterium to spread to the permanent parts of the grapevine before dormancy sets in and canes are pruned off, which would otherwise remove the bacterium from the vine. We are seeing for the first time in California what appears to be vine-to-vine spread of the PD bacterium. As a consequence, diseased grapevines become ''source'' plants for healthy vines, and the progression of the PD epidemic is logarithmic. Native vectors spread the PD bacterium from ''source'' plants outside of the vineyard to grapevines, but not among grapevines. Contributing to the vector-potential of the GWSS is its large host range that includes many agricultural, natural, and ornamental plants. Citrus is the greatest generator of the GWSS in Temecula, and is abundant in the southern one-half of the San Joaquin Valley where there are many acres of grapevines.
The GWSS will alter the economic health of California agriculture. I have the following concerns that will be answered by time, and the resolve of all involved in curtailing this daunting problem.
Can the California grape industry live with PD spread by the GWSS? Because of the spread of PD by the GWSS in the southeastern U.S, there is no substantial grape industry.
Where will grape and almond production in the San Joaquin Valley be 10 years from now? The GWSS was first identified in California in 1990 and severe economic damage due to PD has been realized in Temecula in less than 10 years later. The GWSS was first identified in the San Joaquin Valley, where similar host condition exist, in 1998. Furthermore, the many acres of almonds in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley are susceptible to disease induced by the same strain of X. fastidiosa that causes PD.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Will the GWSS spread to other grape-growing areas in California including the Coachella Valley, the central coast and the north coast, and what impact will it have there? In 10 years since is was first identified, the GWSS has exploited agricultural and urban habitat throughout southern California, from coastal areas to inland deserts
Will we see other strains of X. fastidiosa inducing other plant diseases in California? I first started studying the GWSS when it was responsible for the spread of Oleander Leaf Scorch, a diseased induced by another strain of X. fastidiosa. We are aware that various strains of X. fastidiosa caused diseases of many crops and ornamentals, including peach, plum, and citrus.
Solutions to this devastating malady involve breaking at least one two-way interaction within the set of multiple interactions that is required for the epidemic of a plant disease that is induced by a bacterium spread by insects. The research community is in the initial stages of investigating all avenues of breaking these interactions. We are exploring a short-term management strategy to slow the spread of disease while long-term solutions are developed. Such short-term tactics that we can bring to bear in the near-future will focus on interrupting the vector-plant and vector-pathogen interaction. Current investigations are focusing on chemotherapy to interrupt the plant-pathogen interaction. Long term solutions may involve plant breeding or genetic engineering to generate plants that are resistant to, or tolerant of, the PD bacterium. This research is being conducted at the University of California at Riverside, Davis, and Berkeley, and at the county level through Cooperative Extension. In addition, we are cooperating with scientists from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the University of Florida.
It is my honor to submit this statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture. I request that members of this committee not hesitate to contact me for further discussion or clarification of any statements above.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Statement of Rod Pacheco
Good morning and thank you for allowing me to testify on this critical agricultural issue.
I would especially like to thank the following people for their hard work on helping to find solutions to the eradication of the glassy-winged sharpshooter and combat Pierce's disease.
Thank you Chairman Pombo and your staff for putting together this congressional hearing. This hearing is a pertinent and significant step in the process of finding solutions to Pierce's disease.
Thank you Congressman Ken Calvert, you have taken the lead on bringing Federal attention to this destructive local problem that is infiltrating the State.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Representative Mike Thompson for hosting this public hearing.
As you all are well aware our State's 450,000-plus acres of winegrapes are at risk of potential infection by Pierce's disease. There are 3,000 plus acres in the Temecula Valley region of Riverside County that will be wiped out in the span of 3 years if nothing is done to halt the spread of this disease.
In Anaheim, CA, over 100 years ago, Pierce's disease destroyed an industry that consisted of 40,000 acres of winegrapes. Conditions similar to those in Temecula have recently been found in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and are continuing north. The spread of Pierce's disease, and similar diseases induced by Xylella fastidiosa to other crops will be devastating to California agriculture.
Two years ago, the glassy-winged sharpshooter was a nuisance. Today, it is an epidemic. Since 1997, the glassy-winged sharpshooter has spread Pierce's disease throughout vineyards in Temecula. It is estimated that over the past 5 years, Pierce's disease has cost the growers of Temecula $33 million. Winegrape growers have consistently rated Pierce's disease and its vectors among the most dangerous threats to their crops and their livelihoods. Due to the pervasiveness of the glassy-winged sharpshooter in the Temecula winegrapes, Pierce's disease has destroyed many area vineyards. The potential of this disease is overwhelming. Immediate action needs to be taken before the California's Agricultural Industry suffers substantial losses.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The glassy-winged sharpshooter is rapidly spreading Pierce's disease throughout California. This is a threat not only to the vineyards but also to other crops because the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa that causes Pierce's disease also causes terminal diseases in other plants that host to the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Various other host plants include: almonds, peaches, plums, apricots, alfalfa, crape myrtle, ash, eucalyptus, hibiscus, tree tobacco, sycamore, oak and oleander. There are several varieties of disease-carrying sharpshooters that are native to California. However, the glassy-winged sharpshooter flies farther and can spread more quickly. The host list of this sharpshooter includes 73 plant species in 35 families, and this list is growing. If the above listed host plants are damaged or destroyed from Pierce's disease the rich agricultural landscape of California will become non-existent.
Oleander leaf scorch is an example of a costly disease that the glassy-winged sharpshooter is spreading. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) maintains oleander in over 2,100 miles of freeway median. It is estimated that Caltrans alone stands to suffer at least a $52 million loss if oleander on highway plantings is lost. In the city of Tustin, in Orange County, approximately $200,000 was requisitioned to pay for removal of oleanders maintained on city greenbelts and for replanting of other ornamental species. An important part of the landscape in the southwest will be lost if oleander leaf scorch continues to spread, and resistant oleander varieties are not found.
Last year, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors called a local state of emergency in Riverside County due to the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Since then, extensive action has been taken to provide much needed research funding for Integrated Pest Management methods to control this pest. State, local and Federal funding have been committed to support long-term research.
Currently, research is underway at UC Riverside and UC Davis to combat the glassy-winged sharpshooter infestation. At UC Riverside research is being done to provide short-term strategies to slow the spread of these diseases while long-term solutions are developed. These strategies include the use of systemic insecticides that disrupt acquisition and transmission of the pathogen by the glassy-winged sharpshooter. In addition, UC Riverside is also investigating the impact of biocontrol to reduce glassy-winged sharpshooter population levels, and barriers and trap crops to keep vectors out of vineyards. Long-term solutions, which are being researched at UC Davis, will involve the production of grape varieties that are resistant to the Pierce's disease bacterium.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Last year, Governor Davis signed into law assembly bill (A.B.) 1232 which provides funding in the amount of $750,000 each year for 3 years for Pierce disease research. A.B. 1232 also required the secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture to appoint an advisory task force consisting of scientific experts, university researchers and agricultural representatives for the purpose of advising the secretary on research to control and eradicate Pierce disease.
I would like to commend the task force for the work they have done to identify and address the major components required for developing and implementing an effective regional and/or county glassy-winged sharpshooter management program.
Although significant steps have been taken to provide funding for research and for a task force to implement critical procedures for eradicating the glassy-winged sharpshooter there is still much more that needs to be done.
Two critical steps that will help fight against Pierce disease and also help to battle other pests and pest diseases in the future are:
Create a pest strike force. The strike force would be available on an emergency basis to immediately take action when pests and pest diseases attack the agricultural landscape of California.
Create a Pest Control Research Center at the University of California's Riverside and Davis campuses. The center will enable both campuses to continue their advanced research related to pests and biocontrol. Advanced research is critical so future pest diseases can be eradicated prior to their destruction of thousands of acres of agricultural land as opposed to after the devastation has begun.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter/Pierce's disease pest management and research is one of the top issues facing California agriculture today. Together we must develop more effective pest control methods as quickly as possible. I am confident we are moving ahead rapidly on many fronts towards sound and effective integrated pest management.
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Statement of William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr.,
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, welcome to California and to the heart of California's wine country. Thank you for holding this important hearing. With me today is Bob Wynn, Division Director of CDFA's Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, to discuss Pierce's disease (PD), the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), and to present future efforts to protect California agriculture from this threat.
Let me begin by stating that we in California recognize the threat that the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease pose to agriculture in this State. This is not a problem limited to Temecula, nor is it confined to the grape industry. We have attempted to address the problem in a coordinated effort where information is shared and where responsibilities are clearly defined.
PD AND GWSS
The deadly plant bacterium Xyella fastidiosa causes Pierce's disease in grapes, and it causes corresponding diseases in oleander, almonds, tree fruits, ornamentals, and alfalfa. With some genetic changes, it can also manifest itself as citrus x disease, a disease that has devastated the citrus industry in Brazil. For all of these diseases, no cure exists; once a plant contracts the disease, it will die or become unproductive.
The California grape industry has long coped with Pierce's disease. In the 1880s, the disease destroyed 40,000 acres of grapes around Anaheim. Currently, in the Napa/Sonoma region, the blue-green sharpshooter spreads the disease. In the wine industry's most recent survey, the cost of PD has reached the $33 million mark for Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties.
A new vector transforms this century-old problem into a multi-billion-dollar threat to California's agriculture. The glassy-winged sharpshooter was detected in California in the early 1990's from the southeastern United States, and most likely arrived on plants transported from an infested area. This insect is known to feed on hundreds of species of plants, using its needle-like mouth to tap into the water-conducting tissues of a plant. In addition to its mobility and its varied food sources, it is such a dangerous vector because of its sheer thirst: equal to, in relative terms, a 150-pound human drinking 4,300 gallons of water a day.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When the GWSS taps into an infected plant, it acquires the bacterium. Thereafter, whenever it feeds, the GWSS transmits the bacterium, which plugs a plant's xylem. While Xyella fastidiosa does not affect all plants, the plants not showing symptoms may still serve as a reservoir of the bacteria infecting other sharpshooters that will then further transmit the disease. Citrus is an excellent overwintering site, as well as a host for egg laying. Where citrus is grown close to susceptible crops, such as grapes and almonds, the population of sharpshooters carrying Pierce's disease becomes a major problem.
As you know, the wine growing area of Temecula in Riverside County has high levels of the GWSS and Pierce's disease. First detected in 1997, last year saw only a relative few localized areas of Pierce's disease. By 1999, 30 percent of the grape vineyards in Temecula are stricken with Pierce's disease due to glassy-winged sharpshooter feeding and inoculation.
The current damage from which Temecula suffers may only be an early warning sign of things to come. Glassy-winged sharpshooter has been found in eight southern California counties. A single GWSS was trapped in Lodi (San Joaquin County) in 1999 with no other GWSS found in subsequent surveys. The glassy-winged sharpshooter will spread northward naturally and can hitchhike on vehicles. Nursery stock from infested areas in California may provide a ready pathway to move this pest throughout the State, unless suitable action can be taken to ensure that commercial plants are pest-free.
ACTIONS TAKEN TO COMBAT THE DISEASE AND PEST
To summarize, we have a new mobile insect vector with a variety of food sources, spreading a disease that is deadly to California's grape industry, as well as other major agricultural crops.
Combating this pest and disease defies a simple solution and demands a multi-pronged approach, including controlling GWSS, slowing the artificial movement of the pest, and researching both the disease and the pest. In a very short time, the various partiesCDFA, USDA, county agricultural commissioners, the University of California, and the agricultural industryhave worked together to develop a strategy to fight this problem.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just 6 months agoAugust of 1999the Riverside County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency, and both the board and the city of Temecula allocated $125,000 each to support research efforts to combat the GWSS and its spreading of PD. To help develop long-term strategies and identify additional funding for research, I adopted an action plan and appointed a task force composed of industry representatives, county agricultural commissioners, university researchers, and State and Federal agriculture officials. The purpose of this task force was to ensure a coordinated response. In November of 1999, the task force delivered its final report, which listed research priorities in 11 areas.
In September, I wrote to congressional appropriators requesting $4 million for research into control and eradication of GWSS and PD. This was not part of the final package, but the appropriations bill did encourage USDA to assist California. On November 4, 1999, we requested $360,000 from the APHIS contingency account to set up a pilot program that will test the effectiveness of winter treatments on citrus to reduce sharpshooter populations in Temecula. Four days later, at a meeting sponsored by Representatives Calvert and Bono between growers and officials of USDA and CDFA, the USDA announced that it would fund this effort. Treatments are scheduled to begin towards the end of February, 2000. The University of California at Riverside will conduct extensive monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
CDFA has marshaled its resources for these efforts since we were first notified of the situation in Temecula. CDFA has spent over $120,000 and hundreds of hours of staff time to meet with stakeholders, coordinate the existing activities, and develop protocols for regulatory action and treatment. In addition, Governor Davis has committed up to $200,000 from the CDFA budget to find and release natural enemies for the sharpshooter. Concerned about spreading the sharpshooter through nursery stock, I met with the leaders of the nursery industry, who have adopted a voluntary program that will minimize the spread of the sharpshooter through nursery stock. Currently, we are planning a more intensive survey to determine how far the sharpshooter has spread.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On October 10, 1999, Governor Davis signed legislation to allocate $2.25 million (matched by $750,000 in industry money) for competitive grants for research of Pierce's disease. This legislation created a Pierce's Disease Advisory Task Force that takes the place of the earlier group. At its first meeting last month, I charged the group with providing to me by March 1, 2000, its recommendations for the research grants.
At the same time, the University of California (U.C.) has established its own task force to coordinate research efforts, and we have worked closely with U.C. in the development of research priorities. Currently, research is underway to establish a biological control program to limit sharpshooter numbers. Other U.C. scientists are looking into better disease detection methods and the actions of the bacteria itself with the hope of ultimately curing plants with the equivalent of chemotherapy. In addition, U.C. is working on developing Xylella-resistant varieties of winegrapes.
ADDITIONAL FEDERAL ASSISTANCE
Because of the enormity of the threat, I will again be asking Congress to appropriate money to fight the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease. Reflecting the battle itself, this money must go to slow the spread of GWSS, to detect the current range of the pest in the State, and to develop management programs in infested areas. An additional $7.14 million for the APHIS budget earmarked to fight this disease will allow my department, working with its Federal, county, university and industry counterparts, to continue the immediate fight against the spread of this disease.
This $7.14 million will allow us, working with county agricultural commissioners, to begin a statewide management program that will have four primary elements:
inspection of nursery stock moving from infested counties and from other States;
statewide survey to determine the spread of the glassy-winged sharpshooter;
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC establishment of multi-county pest management areas to begin treatment in infested areas or to develop contingency plans to prepare for infestation; and
an aggressive public outreach program to help slow the spread of the pest.
We estimate that the eight counties that are currently infested will need $250,000 each to begin effective treatment, monitoring and inspection programs. Each of the remaining 36 counties that are vulnerable to this pest and disease should be allotted $50,000 each for survey, and outreach, as well as to develop rapid response capability, should the sharpshooter be detected. The State's role will be to coordinate all program elements, prepare protocols for survey and nursery inspection, train field staff, develop a biological control program, provide computerized mapping of survey results, standardize the outreach program and provide pest identification services, as well as pest risk analysis.
At the same time, Federal dollars are needed to step up research efforts into Pierce's disease, and various control methods. I recommend that, in addition to the $7.14 million for the above-referenced eradication and control efforts, Congress fund research targeted at Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter.
Recently, Governor Davis met with California members of the House Appropriations Committee to discuss priorities for the next Federal budget, including Federal assistance to fight Pierce's disease. Indeed, this is such an imminent threat that if Congress considers a supplemental appropriations bill this spring, emergency spending would speed efforts to halt the spread of this disease. I look forward to working with you and your colleagues on the Appropriations Committee.
Crop insurance for the devastating effects of Pierce's disease would be helpful to growers in areas free of the glassy-winged sharpshooter. The ability to insure their vineyards against excessive loss from the disease would help lessen the financial impacts. As Congress considers reform to the crop insurance system, I ask that you look to insure a more crops against a wider variety of losses, including losses from pests and even from pest quarantines.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The GWSS and PD threaten the California grape and wine industry along with many other crops. Because of this threat, we have mobilized and are working with all who have a stake in this fight.
It is important to note that the glassy-winged sharpshooter is not native to California. It came to California through interstate movement of plant materials. As we discuss additional resources for fighting PD, we should also be looking at additional resources to stop all exotic pests and diseases that may threaten California's agriculture. Governor Davis' budget proposes an additional $4.3 million to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce the growing threat to California from invasive pests. As Congress debates how best to help producers, I strongly encourage you to continue to work to ensure that the Federal Government sufficiently protects American agriculture from pests and diseases. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your recent hearing on invasive species and for this hearing as well.
This concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Testimony of Enrique E. Figueroa
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to appear today to discuss the current outbreak of Pierce's disease in California. I will outline the problem and describe the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) contributions to both short-term and long-term solutions. Mr. Chairman, I am joined by my colleagues from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Dr. Michael Oraze who is the Bioscientist for the National Biological Control Institute and Mr. Jim Reynolds who is the Western Regional Director for PPQ, and my colleagues from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Dr. Antoinette Betschart who is the Director for Pacific West Area and Dr. Ed Civerolo who is the Research Leader for Plant Pathology at the University of California at Davis. My colleagues have joined me to ensure that all of your questions for either APHIS or ARS may be answered today.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pierce's disease is caused by the bacterium Xyella fastidiosa (zy-LELL-la fast-id-ee-OH- sa), that attacks the tissues responsible for transporting water within the plant, eventually killing the vines. Once a plant has contracted Pierce's disease in a warm climate, the plant cannot be saved. Although present in California for at least 100 years, Pierce's disease has been a manageable pest because it occurred in only small patches at the periphery of vineyards. The bacteria cannot spread without a vector and, until the introduction of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Pierce's disease vectors were relatively inefficient.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca coagulata (home-a-la-DISK-a coe-ag-you- LOT-a), is an invasive species insect that was likely introduced from the southeastern United States in the early 1990's. The sharpshooter is known to exist in parts of northern Mexico and has recently become established in southern California. Last year, growers in Riverside County, California, reported severe damage to winegrapes due to Pierce's disease, one of several diseases spread by the sharpshooter. Currently, approximately 25 percent of the area's 3,000 acres of winegrapes planted since 1967 are exhibiting symptoms of this disease.
The sharpshooter is an effective vector for Pierce's disease simply because it is more highly mobile than other leafhoppers that can transport the bacteria. Because of the sharpshooter's superior efficacy, Pierce's disease now poses a serious threat to California's grape, almond, citrus, and peach industries, which are valued at $14 billion.
The disease damaged $33 million worth of crops from 1995 to 1997 in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties and we expect that total to climb to $50 million between 1997 and 2000. In Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties 8,000 of the area's 78,000 acres are infected with Pierce's disease, consequently, crops in 650 of these acres were destroyed. In southern California, crops in 750 of the area's 3,000 acres were destroyed due to Pierce's disease, resulting in a loss of about $12 million per year.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC APHIS shares the concerns of California and supports State and local efforts to address the problems associated with this pest. One important component of a comprehensive approach to slow the spread of the sharpshooter may be to establish a voluntary program to inspect nursery stock and fruit material before it leaves southern California to areas, both within and outside of California, not colonized by the sharpshooter. This method, however, would require the cooperation and interaction of the agricultural industry, regulatory agencies, and research and extension personnel.
Insecticide applications may also be effective in suppressing the pest and the damage it causes. Last year, Under Secretary Dunn secured $360,000 in contingency funds from APHIS for the application of insecticide in Riverside County. This effort is being coordinated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Commissioner of Agriculture for Riverside County; the 6-week application process will begin March 1, 2000 and APHIS looks forward to the success of this effort.
The application of insecticides to control the sharpshooter may be a good short-term solution to the problem of Pierce's disease in California, and it may be an important component of a more long-term, integrated pest management (IPM) approach.
Both the bacteria and the sharpshooter are established in California. Therefore, to protect the grape, almond, citrus, and peach industries in California, a thoughtful, long-term IPM program is critical. APHIS is pleased to report that we have partnered with the research community, including USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of California scientists and we are prepared to help fashion a comprehensive long-term approach to this critical problem. To help facilitate this process, the Secretary of Agriculture named an APHIS representative, Dr. Michael Oraze, to the Pierce's Disease Advisory Task Force. Dr. Oraze works closely with the task force so that APHIS may remain informed of any research breakthroughs or methodological developments in the control effort for the pest.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, APHIS is pleased that we have been able to contribute to California's effort to control Pierce's disease. California wine and produce are some of our Nation's most prized and admired agricultural products. APHIS is committed to our partnership with the research community and the State of California, and we look forward to working together to combat this serious problem.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify before your committee.
Statement of James S. Kamas
The Texas winegrape industry is comprised of approximately 3,700 acres of commercial vineyards that supply the State's 32 bonded wineries with fruit to produce over 1,600,000 gallons of wine annually. This industry has an estimated impact of over $120,000,000 on the Texas economy each year and is responsible for 2,000 jobs within the State. The production of vinifera grape cultivars is limited in many areas of the State by the bacterial pathogen (Xyella fastidiosa) which causes Pierce's disease.
Texas is not alone among States east of the Rocky Mountains that suffer significant losses from Pierce's disease. Unlike California, Pierce's disease is indigenous to the Gulf Coast and the mid-Atlantic States. Grape production is seriously limited in all coastal States and the pathogen affects production along the Atlantic coast as far north as Virginia. Pierce's disease has also been confirmed in Arizona and suspected to occur in New Mexico. The range of the disease is limited to areas that receive relatively warm winter temperatures. Movement of the disease in Texas has expanded to areas to the west and north of where it is expected to occur following a series of mild winters. Most predictions call for this warming pattern to continue, and consequently, the range of Pierce's disease is expected to expand.
Pierce's disease infection is dependent upon the presence of a susceptible host, a source of the bacteria, and an insect vector to inoculate the susceptible host. Surveys in California have identified several alternate hosts, but in Texas, where the disease is endemic, there are undoubtedly many more plant species that act as reservoirs of the bacteria outside of the vineyard. Identification of these alternate hosts is essential in the development of a disease management strategy.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Most native Texas Vitis spp. are tolerant to Pierce's disease, that is they can live and be productive while infected with the bacteria. In management terms, this means that native vines are a potential source of the bacteria, but they may also hold the long-term solution to Pierce's disease. While classical breeding techniques have yielded varieties capable of surviving this disease, wine quality, and consequently winery demand is limited for these varieties. Identification of the genetic source of tolerance and the introduction of those genes into classical wine varieties may indeed be the long-term solution to this problem. There is no know control of Pierce's disease in infected vines, and indeed current thinking is that this is not a disease that will be sprayed away. Support is also needed to continue the investigation of novel methods of prolonging plant life and disrupting the disease cycle.
Although a serious problem to commercial grape growers on the West Coast, PD is not native to California, but was probably introduced from the Gulf Coast through infected grapevines in the nineteenth century. Three or four species of sharpshooters are believed to be the most important vectors in California. Initial vineyard studies across central Texas conducted in 1998 and 1999 identified twenty-four sharpshooter species that could potentially vector this disease. Additional work is needed to identify these insects, determine their preferred habitat, and to understand basic population dynamics.
Because of the size of the California grape industry, and the financial resources dedicated to basic and applied research, many of our answers have, and will continue to come from California. In grape growing regions outside of California however, financial support is desperately needed to answer fundamental questions essential to the development of sound disease management strategies.
The Texas A&M University System and the grower contributions to the Lipe Foundation have funded initial work in Texas, but resources are extremely limited. Talented personnel are available to work on this problem within Texas, but additional support dollars will be necessary if we are to make additional progress. We are in the process of establishing working relationships with researchers in other States in order to use their laboratories and techniques to address the behavior of Pierce's disease in my State. Federal support for these projects is essential not only to the growth, but indeed the survival of much of the American wine-grape industry.
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Testimony of John De Luca
In addition to the testimony I am submitting today on behalf of Wine Institute, I would like your permission to enter written testimony on the findings and recommendations of the University of California's Pierce's Disease Research and Emergency Response Task Force. I submit this in my capacity as chair of the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources. The 30 member commission is appointed by U.C. President Richard C. Atkinson to provide advice and guidance to the University on research, educational outreach and instruction needs of California's agricultural, natural and human resources communities.
At our September 1999 meeting, President Atkinson briefed the Commission on the Pierce's disease epidemics facing winegrape growers in Temecula and here on the North Coast. He outlined his plan to appoint a task force to mobilize the scientific, technical and information outreach expertise of the University to respond to this crisis. The President's Advisory Commission unanimously endorsed his plan. In early October 1999, Dr. Atkinson established the Pierce's Disease Research and Emergency Response Task Force.
I have been authorized by the University to provide your committee with copies of the executive summary and recommendations sections of the Task Force report prior to its release to the public later this month. These are attached with this testimony.
For the record, the U.C. Task Force report recommends the implementation of a statewide research, containment, management and educational outreach program with the objective of reducing or eliminating the further spread of Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged and blue-green sharpshooters that transmit the disease. The report identifies a set of research priorities for the next decade and provides a road map for mobilizing the resources of the University to help Californians find solutions to this growing crisis.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The report also notes that the glassy-winged sharpshooter has the ability to spread Pierce's disease and other strains of the virus to a broad range of commercial crops, nursery, landscape and backyard plants and to natural habitats. The potential economic and environmental damage from this sharpshooter is cause for great concern.
Let me say that California and the Nation are fortunate to have scientists in the University of California who were instrumental in first identifying the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease and discovering how it attacks grapes. These experts are now involved in research to better understand how the glassy-winged and blue-green sharpshooters function, their role in transmitting Pierce's disease, and ways to control the disease and its insect vectors.
The University also has county-based Cooperative Extension advisors across the State. They are working directly with growers, county agricultural commissioners, CDFA and USDA to get research results out to the field and into the hands of those who need it most.
The U.C. Task Force report recognizes that slowing the spread of the glassy-winged sharpshooter should be a high priority in California, both to minimize economic losses to agriculture and to buy time for scientists to work on long-term solutions to Pierce's disease. The report also cautions that while the glassy-winged sharpshooter is the center of attention today, the blue-green sharpshooter which is present here in Napa cannot be ignored.
Over the next 5 years, the University recommends a research and monitoring program that focuses on vector control, disease control, understanding the epidemiology and physiology of the bacterium causing the disease, and preventing the glassy-winged sharpshooter from moving to other parts of the State.
Over the long-term, the U.C. Task Force believes that the only sure cure for Pierce's disease is to breed resistance to the Xyella fastidiosa bacterium into grapes. This will require an accelerated research program using genetic engineering, DNA transfer and other biotechnology tools to move genes resistant to the bacterium into commercial wine, table and raisin grapes.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The U.C. Task Force report points out that the initial investment in long-term research solutions must be made today, not 3 to 5 years from now. If eradication and other emergency response efforts are unsuccessful, then valuable time will be lost should funding agencies adopt a wait and see approach. Even using genetic engineering, the U.C. Task Force estimates that it may be 10 years before grapes incorporating disease resistant genes are planted commercially.
Finally, the U.C. Task Force has done more than map a research and educational outreach strategy for stopping the spread of Pierce's disease. It also identified the immediate need for a glassy-winged sharpshooter field guide, and produced 100,000 copies of the color brochure that you have before you. This identification tool is in the hands of growers, nursery operators, landscape professionals, agricultural workers and governmental officials across the State. A Spanish-language version of the brochure will be available soon.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony.
Statement of Bob Young
I represent the Russian River Chamber of Commerce in Guerneville, CA. We are located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, one of the premier wine growing regions in California. Pierce's disease not only threatens the wine industry as a whole, but our local economy as well.
Pierce's disease can cause great economic harm to our region in particular, and California in general, if adequate steps are not taken. This disease is a threat we take seriously as we are only now recovering from previous disasters.
In the last 5 years, our communities have been declared disaster areas four times by the President. Our economies and citizens have seen homes lost and lives disrupted from flooding. While we can't predict floods with any certain&we are working to mitigate their effects. Our communities worked together to create an Economic Task Force to take an overview of our damaged economy and infrastructure. Vice President Gore advised us to draft a strategic plan for our area which was paid for locally and completed in September 1998. Seven of us traveled to Washington, DC at our own expense to represent our towns at the Community Empowerment Conference. USDA in California and Washington are well aware of the after effects of our repeated disastrous floods. I hope they will now join the fight against Pierce's disease.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our area simply cannot afford the widespread economic devastation that Pierce's disease would create if it takes hold in Sonoma County.
We support the California Association of Winegrape Growers request for research needs including a research position at the University of California at Davis. We also support a minimum investment of $2 million a year in additional funds for short- and long-term research priorities. As a small business owner myself one who is dependent on tourism in the wine country, this help cannot come soon enough.
I urge the subcommittee to adopt the recommendations that have been presented before you at this hearing.
I also thank the subcommittee and Chairman Pombo for coming to California and getting a first hand look at this serious problem. We, in the wine country, sincerely appreciate your efforts.
Statement of Pete Opatz
Good morning. I would like to start by thanking Chairman Richard Pombo, members of the subcommittee and to acknowledge Congressman Mike Thompson for his attention to this matter.
My name is Pete Opatz, born in San Francisco in 1954 my family relocated to the Napa Valley in the early 1960's. My family farmed 26 acres in the middle of the valley sharing one border of the property with the Napa River. I have spent 27 years in winegrape production, working through most aspects of winegrape production and management. I have worked for small to medium size organizations here in Napa Valley, then off to Sonoma County. In management positions, I have worked for Gallo, Chateau St. Jean and currently for Clos du Bois Wines. My community involvement has included board ships on two vineyard technical groups (6 years), a political action association where I advocated and completed a farm worker housing ordinance for Sonoma County (6 years), current president of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association, just completed two years of negotiations with the environmental community in Sonoma County, on a vineyard development ordinance finalized last month. I have spoken publicly at numerous symposiums and public programs on viticulture.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The subject which you are being presented with today, ''Pierces Disease in California Grape Production,'' is one in which viticulturist like myself have battled annually for decades, and it appears that the battle is now turned into war. My objective today is to showcase the importance and potential impacts to the California wine, raisin and table grape industries.
Who am I representing today: The Clos du Bois Wine Company owns, leases and or operates 775 acres of winegrapes in Sonoma County. Additionally the winery in Geyserville, Sonoma County, purchases 14,500 tons of winegrapes from various growers, predominately from Sonoma County. I'm proud to add that, Clos du Bois makes more wine out of the prestigious Alexander Valley appellation, and bottles more wine with the Sonoma County appellation than any other producer in the world. Today I am also representing the 340 growers and associate members of the Sonoma County Grape Grower Association.
A brief explanation: Currently Pierce's disease patterns have been limited to grape production sites that interface with all types of large and small water courses. (riparian areas)slides to clarify these areas. The second and highly problematic source of this deadly bacteria is, private, commercial and public landscaping. The agent that kills grapevines (Xylella fastidiosa) a bacteria, is vectored from bacterial host plants, a long list of plant species in the riparian and landscape areas, to the vineyard in the mouth parts of the vector insects. The primary vectoring insect has been the blue-green sharpshooter and to a lessor extent the red headed sharpshooter (slides of insects). Both with similar feeding habits and life cycles. Location in the vine and the time of year of the infection determine whether the vine will surcome to the infection. Mortality generally occurs two to five years after infection depending on variety and age of the vine. The blue-green and red headed sharpshooters have limited flight and feeding habits. This, in it self, limits the spread of
the decease to locations close to the bacterial source. This disease, in this context described above, costs the industry millions of dollars in lost production annually. Historically our industry has worked with local and State agencies to manage the bacterial host plant species in the riparian areas. This strategy is costly but efficacious. Dealing with the second bacterial host area; landscaping, has been far more difficult but with it's limited interface, it has not been considered an industry wide problem.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today's challenge: With the introduction of the glassy winged sharpshooter into southern California, this new super vector of Pierce's disease brings this pathogen to the front of the class in terms of the sustainability of our industry. The infection potential is exponential. This super vector's ability to fly much greater distances, feed on all types and stages of grapevine tissue completely changes the disease control dynamics. With these super vector traits, there are no known control techniques available today to combat this disease epidemic. The single new capability of superior flight offers what I refer to as ''connect the dot disease spread capacity''. Here's why. The North Coast grape growing regions have a long history with Pierce's disease. Known and well established bacteria infected riparian habitat that extends well beyond the scope of our vineyards now becomes a threat. Urban and other rural developments that contain infected landscape plants all turn into deadly resource for rapid spread of the disease. What about other grape growing States? What about environmental concerns about significant changes to what little natural riparian habitat that we have left. What about other crops? Other experts will describe this super vector to you in great detail today, I can merely describe to you that if only one-half of what our best minds in the country tell us is true, history books will tell us that winegrapes in California had two historically significant periods, the first ''Prohibition'' and the last ''glassy Winged/Pierce's Disease Epidemic.''
In Conclusion: Without a national effort to include our best scientists from our most experienced universities the wine, table grape and raisin industries can be devastated. Your immediate efforts and commitment to participate in a solution is paramount. Funding research is only one aspect. Our industry, one of the core economic units to the State of California's economy requires your leadership as well.
On behalf of Clos du Bois Wines, the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association and my family's vineyard, I thank you for this opportunity to address the committee.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Statement of Bill Pauli
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am Bill Pauli. I am a winegrape and pear grower in Potter Valley, in Mendocino County. I am president of the California Farm Bureau Federation with more than 40,000 farm and ranch members. Our members produce the full complement of the State's 250 different commodities, including major crops that are threatened by the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease. I appear before you today to express the concerns from a broad commodity perspective.
First, I want to convey my gratitude for holding today's hearing. Your presence here in St. Helena signifies your interest in helping California come to grips with Pierce's disease and how we can mobilize a strong, concerted effort to stop it.
The importance of this issue and the high priority for eradication cannot be overstated. Pierce's disease is one of the greatest threats ever to California's viticulture industry. It has already caused millions of dollars in losses in Riverside County. The industry's optimism about a strong economy and strong wine sales have taken a back seat to the danger posed by this new threat. It has become our worst nightmare.
While the focus and fear about the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease have been on the winegrape industry, we must not forget that other crops are threatened. The sharpshooter inhabits citrus and avocado groves and some woody ornamentals in unusually high numbers. In Brazil, there are 35 species of sharpshooter.
Citrus growers there lost 60 million trees to a specific strain of the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease. California's $2.5 billion nursery industry considers this pest an enormous threat. Entomologists believe that stone fruits, almonds and other important crops may be hosts for the sharpshooter and susceptible to Pierce's disease.
We must remember that while we are talking about agricultural pests and threats to our State's farms and major commodities, that this problem affects people. California agriculture supports nearly 10 percent of our State's workforce, about 1.4 million people. This is a threat to jobs and the economic prosperity that flows from our farms. Eradication of Pierce's disease should be considered a high priority to protect our farms, our workers and our State's economy.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In our pursuit of a solution, we must ensure that a response to Pierce's disease does not pit one commodity against another or one region of the State against another. The outbreak in Riverside County's Temecula area sounded the alarm all across the State. The sharpshooter has been found in Ventura County and in the San Joaquin Valley. But this isn't just a problem in these areas. It is a problem for the entire State that requires cooperation, education, and a clearly articulated plan and approach.
The best way to fight this battle is with a united and coordinated front. Let's hope today's hearing and the other activities that have taken place already will serve as the catalyst to extinguish the threat that they pose to our State.
Research is already on a fast track at the University of California. Task forces have been assembled at the local and State levels to respond. Everyone wants the solution to Pierce's disease now, but let's not panic. Time is critical, but we must use it wisely as we allocate government and industry resources.
I would characterize Farm Bureau's assessment of what needs to be done in two parts: control and eradication.
First, the immediate need is to isolate and contain the disease by focusing on detection, inspection, quarantine and exclusion.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter is highly mobile. Entomologists say it can feed on more than 70 species of plants. This gives the vector a 100-mile or more range. We need aggressive trapping and monitoring where the sharpshooter currently exists and in counties where it doesn't. We must support researchers to determine which techniques provide the best control. Monitoring is the backbone of any effective control program.
Several counties already trap for the sharpshooter. To date, Riverside County and local growers have borne the brunt of these costs. They have been in the trenches fighting this pest. More must be done to support them and expand their work. Growers of host crops must be alerted to the seriousness of this threat and how to identify the pest.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need all of the tools we can muster against the sharpshooter. One of the chemicals being used in Temecula is Lorsban. Lorsban is especially useful because it can be used without harming beneficial insects.
But Lorsban also is under review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The basis of our support for H.R. 1592 has become quite clear in this battle. Representative Pombo, we support your efforts to pass this legislation to ensure the availability of important crop protection tools. Thank you for your aggressive leadership on this issue.
Some counties are acting to establish local ordinances in response to the outbreak in Riverside County. Some are considering certification before nursery stock can enter their counties. Certainly no one wants to import a new problem. No one wants to export one either. Ordinances should be based on the level of risk presented and clearly articulate the steps to protect the local agriculture on the basis of science.
Containment must involve wise quarantine action. Our board of directors has supported reclassification of the glassy-winged sharpshooter from a class C pest to a higher urgency ranking of class B. This would give county agricultural commissioners the ability to initiate actions on the local level to respond to the pest.
We must also ensure that quarantines themselves do not create more problems. They should be science-based and fairly enforced. We must remember that the purpose of a quarantine is to prevent a problem from getting worse. As we have seen in the Mexican fruit fly infestation in San Diego County, quarantines can be costly to farmers. If losses occur as a result of quarantine action, there must be indemnification to producers when quarantine requirements or treatment methods are the basis for the loss.
Since many of our commodities move to export channels, we must be aware of the consequences quarantines have on international trade. An important element of any control and eradication program is education. We have to keep the communication lines open with our trading partners to ensure they understand the actions we are taking.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our defense against this disease is only as good as our pest exclusion efforts. There must be a USDA/CDFA priority to beef up our border inspections. Every day thousands of vehicles cross into California. Our border inspection stations do a great job with limited financial resources. Funding for pest exclusion programs has been and continues to be a problem.
The list of exotic pests and diseases we currently fight is daunting. It includes Medfly, Mexfly, olive fruit fly, Africanized bee and red imported fire, to name a few. Outside the State, citrus canker and plum pox pose grave dangers for California agriculture.
The support removal of spending limitations imposed by the present APHIS appropriations act. Limited resources relegate us to a ''rob Peter to pay Paul'' response to new pest problems. One State should not be pitted against another to secure emergency funds. Pest exclusion funds are inadequate to address problems like Pierce's disease. When we have outbreaks like this, State and county officials find themselves putting out brush fires and siphoning funds from other pests and programs. We are using a bucket brigade to fight a four-alarm blaze.
We strongly support the appropriation of additional State and Federal funds toward control and eradication of Pierce's disease. We need more funds for research and monitoring. There have been estimates that we need $5 million to $8 million in new funds specifically targeted at Pierce's disease at the Federal level and a like amount for the State of California. Local officials and affected agencies are in the best position to determine the exact amounts. We will work diligently to help secure those funds. We shouldn't wait for a full-blown disaster before we act. Funds invested now could save a tremendous amount later.
I urge you to press USDA for additional funding for exclusion and eradication programs to enable APHIS to conduct the strongest possible exclusion defense at our national borders and airports.
The second part of the effort is eradication. Everyone wants a cure yesterday for Pierce's disease. Millions of dollars are being funneled into research to find the cure. The California wine industry has funded research on Pierce's disease. But the complexity of the disease and the way it spreads means there will be no quick fixes.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A unified effort by knowledgeable scientists and entomologists at USDA, CDFA and university levels to find effective tools for eradication is required.
Several task forces have been formed to find solutions to the problem. It is essential that there be coordination between the various groups so that research is not duplicated and funds are not wasted.
Experience has shown us that joint State and Federal efforts have been successful in the past in response to the silver leaf white fly problem a few years ago and numerous Mediterranean fruit fly infestations. There are highly qualified people at the State and
Federal levels to help on sharpshooter. We support a joint Federal/State task force to ensure an aggressive, coordinated eradication program.
There are some potentially helpful tools to fight this threat. Biological controls like the fairy wasp, which parasitizes the sharpshooter eggs is one. Growers in Temecula believe that with wasps, they can reduce sharpshooter populations by 90 percent. While promising, that's still not good enough considering the mobility and destructive nature of the sharpshooter.
We are encouraged by reports that some research programs are coming together. More than 10 research proposals look promising. Long-term, more extensive research is needed to better understand the disease and to use genetic engineering to develop resistance in plants.
While daunting, the challenge we have with the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease can be addressed with effective, coordinated action. Information you gather here today will be helpful in translating our concern into action at the Federal level.
California has a good track record when it comes to fighting disease and pest infestations. We have a good system and highly capable people. With the proper funds and the right coordination, we can prevail against the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce's disease. The pest represents a significant mountain to climb, but members of Farm Bureau are ready, willing and committed to help conquer the challenge.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I appreciate the opportunity to present the views and concerns of Farm Bureau members in California about such an important issue.
California Grape & Tree Fruit League
The California Grape & Tree Fruit League, a statewide trade association that represents over 80 percent of the volume of the State's table grapes and fresh tree fruit, would like to take the opportunity to express its concerns regarding Pierce's disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS). Although the League was unable to attend your hearing, the League appreciates the opportunity to submit testimony that reflects its concerns relating to this deadly disease.
As you may know, in 1990, Ventura County received a pest that was accidentally introduced into Southern California from the Southeast United States as eggs on nursery stock. Since then, the GWSS has been known to feed on more than 70 species of plant in 35 different plant families and is active throughout the year.
According to University of California experts, the GWSS is just one vector for Pierce's disease. In fact, Blue-Green sharpshooters (BGSS) and Spittle Bugs have also been verified as potential vectors for this deadly disease. These vectors transmit the deadly plant bacterial pathogen, Xylella fastidiosa. Different strands of this bacterium induce diseases in many agricultural and ornamental plants, including almonds, peaches, plums, alfalfa and citrus. Although the initial discovery of GWSS was found in 1990 on eucalyptus windbreaks in Ventura County and a lemon grove near Santa Paula, all vectors of this disease have been sited and are now well established in the citrus groves of the coastal region and in the Kern and San Joaquin counties.
Currently, there are no preventative measures or control strategies for this pest. It is feared that the GWSS could spread throughout the San Joaquin Valley, threatening over 800,000 acres of table, raisin and winegrapes, or roughly 72 percent of the State's vineyards. Although there are no immediate solutions to effectively combat the Pierce's disease dilemma, the League has several concerns that should be addressed before final decisions and guidelines are put in place. The League's main concerns are:
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC that this disease is not just a wine industry problem but in fact affects table grapes and raisin vineyards as well. Pierce's disease attacks grape vineyards by destroying the plant's photosynthesis mechanisms that are essential for producing a productive and fruitful crop. Efforts should be made to address this disease as a whole and not just by a commodity basis;
that the GWSS should be reclassified as a category B pest. Currently, the GWSS is a category C pest, indicating that there is no real threat of this species to agriculture. Several organizations are continuing to work closely with the U.C. Cooperative Extension and California's Agriculture Commissioner's office to educate the industry and the public as to the threat of the, GWSS and the BGSS. However, until the GWSS is reclassified, any attempts to educate the public on the impact of this pest might not be taken as a serious threat to the industry;
that the impact of the Endangered Species Act during this crisis should be considered. Several experts have suggested that the elderberry bush is a great host for the GWSS. As you know, the elderberry bush is also home to the endangered elderberry beetle. Unfortunately, due to this conflict, growers can not spray products that will control the GWSS without having an impact on the elderberry beetle population. This example shows the dilemma that California will face: the choice of growers' commodities or saving the elderberry beetle;
that quarantines might be established by other countries to combat the spread of Pierce's disease. With strict quarantine measures, growers will not be able to move their commodities into other countries, even though there might not be a serious threat of transmitting the disease. Although the GWSS uses tree fruit crops as alternative hosts during the winter, tree fruit is not susceptible to the deadly bacteria that causes Pierce's disease. Quarantines established on the GWSS should be practical and should have the support of the agricultural industry.
Currently, the State of California legislature has earmarked $2,250,000 over the next 3 years to combat the problem. In addition, the State has allocated $200,000 for the exploration of biological control agents for the GWSS. Unfortunately, this is the only alternative the State is seeking to assist in the fight against the GWSS. In addition, Senator Barbara Boxer has introduced a proposal that will allocate $2,000,000 to help fight this deadly disease.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In concluding the League's concerns, it must be stressed that cooperation at all levels, regardless of the commodity, must be made if a solution is to be found to stop this deadly disease. The League would like to thank Congressman Pombo's office and the members of the House Committee on Agriculture for allowing the League to participate and submit testimony for the Pierce's disease hearing.
Should you have any questions regarding the League's position, please do not hesitate to contact me at the League office.
Statement of Craig Weaver
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Craig Weaver, Vineyard Manager at Callaway Vineyard & Winery. I represent Callaway Vineyard on the Pierce's Disease task force for the State of California. My local leadership role also involves me as the vice-president of the Temecula Winegrape Growers Association.
Callaway Vineyard & Winery of Temecula produces 300,000 cases of wine per year and owns 720 acres of vineyards. I would like to note for your attention that Temecula is represented by Congressman Ron Packard. Congressman Packard visited the Callaway vineyards in the past month and saw firsthand the impact of Pierce's disease. Out of the 720 acres, 121 acres has been devastated by Pierce's disease in 1999.
In 4 short years, the Temecula Valley has been transformed from a viable grape growing area to an area with disastrous implications.
1996 The first glassy-winged sharpshooter was first discovered in Temecula.
1997 Pierce's disease discovered in abandoned vineyard. Temecula Valley Grape Growers Association pays to have vineyard removed.
1998 Growers accessed themselves $20,000 to fund monitoring study with UCR and Matt Blua in spring, 1999. In fall, Matt Blua confirmed that GWSS was vectoring Pierce's disease.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC 1999 Growers accessed themselves $25,000 to fund continued work with UCR & Matt Blua. In spring, Admire, an insecticide applied in the drip system to control the GWSS. In fall of 1999, UCR monitoring survey estimates 20 percent to 75 percent of vineyards are infected with Pierce's disease. Callaway pulls infected vines and cordones totaling a staggering loss of 121 acres out of the 720 acres.
The solicitation of research funds from the Federal, State and local governments started in April 1999. In 11 months, Callaway has worked diligently with many people in the Valley to deliver the message about the seriousness of Pierce's disease and about this new exotic vector of the GWSS. This has been a community effort and Callaway has been utilizing the experience of key individuals to work closely together with local, State and Federal Government officials.
Research Funds that have been approved are as follows:
City of Temecula: $125,000; County of Riverside: $125,000; State of California: $750,000; American Vineyard Foundation: $250,000;
Agriculture Research Service, State of California Exploration of Parasites: $200,000; APHIS Pilot Spray Project: 360,000.
The 1999 loss for Callaway Vineyard & Winery was 121 acres. Winegrapes will now need to be purchased at a higher cost resulting in the expenditure of $700,000. When you factor in the probable lower yield for the remaining acreage, the loss will reach in excess of $2 million.
When you factor in the loss implications for the remainder of the Temecula Valley, the numbers are staggering. An additional 500 acres of non-producing vines and the replacement cost for that tonnage will be $3 million. Taking into account of the probable lower yield for the remaining acreage will result in an additional $4.5 million loss this year .
I would like to quote Dr. Alexander (Sandy) Purcell from U.C. Berkeley, ''the problem should not be a lack of money but a lack of time.'' The Temecula Valley will need some quick short term answers to mitigate the insect in order to buy time so the long term cure of the Pierce's disease bacterium can be addressed.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The experience we gain through the short term research this year will prove to be invaluable for the entire State and industry. Progress on research will surely save countless millions of dollars lost as the GWSS makes its way northward.
In closing, I would like to thank the Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee for bringing attention to this most serious matter. Thank you Chairman Pombo and the members of the subcommittee and other Members of Congress for your attention and time addressing this most important matter.
On behalf of Callaway Vineyard and Winery, I am here today to seek your assistance to procure some form of emergency funding to aid Callaway Vineyard and other affected vineyards in the Temecula Valley.
We most certainly appreciate your efforts.