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Home » News » Upstate New York has a Spotted Lanternfly problem: Schumer calls on USDA to free up $212M for fight

Upstate New York has a Spotted Lanternfly problem: Schumer calls on USDA to free up $212M for fight

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says Upstate New York is infested with the Spotted Lanternfly. He called on the USDA to act quickly, because Upstate New York’s economy, driven by tourism, wineries, and breweries, face uncertainty with the lantern fly.

New York’s wine and grape industry generates a direct economic impact of $6.65 billion annually, creates over 71,000 jobs, and attracts nearly 5 million tourist visits a year. Similarly, New York’s apple industry contributes $1.3 billion in total economic output, provides more than 8,000 jobs, and produces nearly $4 million in gross domestic product to New York State’s economy. Schumer said that these crops are vital to the continued economic success of New York and it is imperative the federal government provides all necessary resources to control the spread of SLF and protect these iconic New York’s industries.

Schumer urged the USDA to tap federal funds from an account he has supported with over $200 million dollars to contain the Spotted Lanternfly.

The funds can be used by New York’s Integrated Pest Management Program. At this point, Schumer says there’s still time to contain it. However, it poses a serious threat to the state.

RELATED: New York works to battle hogweed, the spotted lanternfly, and beech tree disease as many invasive species spread rapidly

Schumer also said fed funds can be used for education and eradication as he made the case for to deliver an additional $22 million in the upcoming fed budget to deal with invasives like the SLF.

“Summer is the perfect time to relax outdoors with a nice New York Riesling, but the rapid spread of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly threatens to suck the life out of our vineyards, agriculture, and great outdoor tourism industry. We need to stomp out this bug before it spreads, otherwise our farmers and local businesses could face millions in damage and an unmanageable swarm,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “For years now, I have warned about the pest, but now we are demanding action because pockets of Upstate New York are now infested by the invasive bug that wreaks havoc on trees, vineyards and crops. This is a multi-million dollar threat to New York’s economy– both tourism and agriculture are now at risk if the spotted lanternfly goes unchecked. But the good news here is that we have federal funds already in place, that I secured, to help New York contain the bug, and that we will be pushing for more.”

Schumer is calling on the USDA to use the $200 million for programs. However, he’s also launching a major push to increase federal support for the USDA’s APHIS program by over $22 million in FY23.

The senator explained, however, that long-sustained funding and planning is required to prevent damage and ensure communities have the resources to stop this bug from coming back and stomping it out wherever it may pop up.

Schumer said the Spotted Lanternfly poses a risk to New York’s agricultural health, too, because they feed on the sap of more than 70 plant species, which makes plants vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. As swarm feeders, SLF’s are known to quickly overwhelm vineyards and orchards, killing grape vines and other fruit bearers or rendering them unusable due the excessive amounts of “honeydew” they release when feeding which can cover the plant and cause mold. Schumer said the spread of the SLF could have particularly devastating impact in places like Finger Lakes, where the wine industry employs thousands of New Yorkers and generates significant economic activity.