ST.PAUL – The Supplemental Budget Conference Committee Report contains nearly $5,000,000 in funding to the University of Minnesota to create the first of its kind Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center. Per the language in the bill, “the purpose of the Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center is to research and develop effective measures to prevent and minimize the threats posed by terrestrial invasive plants, pathogens, and pests, including agricultural weeds and pests, in order to protect the state’s native prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources.”
State Representative Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock) chief-authored and spearheaded the effort to establish the Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center. “We know the immense threat invasive species and herbicide-resistant agriculture weeds pose to our state and our economy. Instead of playing catch-up and attempting to reactively deal with invasive species, we will be taking a proactive approach to contain and address the threats before they become a crisis.”
The center will draw on the expertise of numerous departments including: Entomology, Plant Pathology, Forest Resources, Fisheries Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Plant Biology at the University of Minnesota while also utilizing the University of Minnesota’s Research and Outreach Centers across the state.
“This is amongst the most important legislation that has been enacted to support agriculture and Minnesota’s farmers. Invasive species pose hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars of threats to our agricultural, forestry, and tourism industries in addition to causing irreparable harm to our state’s ecosystems and our quality of life,” said Falk.
The conference committee report is expected to be taken up by the Senate upon passage in the House later tonight.