CDFA pest prevention experts have been busy fending off several threats to California agriculture, according to CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, who presented updates to the State Board of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday. Topping the list was the spotted lanternfly, which poses a grave threat to grapes and stone fruit. CDFA border stations and inspection programs recently found carcasses of the invasive planthopper.

“But it's a close call,” said Ross. “My heart stops every time we have a call from someone who thinks they have a spotted lanternfly that's a live one.”

Another threat to vineyards has been the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which has been active in the state since 1994. The department confirmed a case on urban properties in Solano County last weekend, with Ross calling that “too close to winegrape growing country for everyone's comfort.”

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On Friday, the animal health division identified the possibility of avian influenza. While it was the low-path form of the virus, Ross cautioned that this is the time of year for bird flu to spread.

“This kind of vigilance is what really prevents massive impacts to our animal health and our livestock programs as well as what we do on the plant side,” said Ross of her department’s efforts.

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