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Snail Eradication Program Funding Gets National Attention

March 25, 2015

Federal officials last week announced plans to spend nearly $60 million this year to combat insect pests that threaten U.S. crops. A Tribune News Service story by Chris Adams noted that most of the money, appropriated through the 2014 farm bill, will go to California ($18 million) and Florida ($7 million). The lion’s share of Florida’s funding will help pay for continuing efforts to eradiate the giant African land snail from South Florida.

GALS Billboard2The story, carried by media outlets around the county, goes on to review the progress the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has made toward eradicating the snails, including the fact that, due to our teams’ efforts, fewer snails are being found now, and more of those that are found are dead.

The GALS is one of the world’s most threatening crop pests. It is also a threat to landscapes, human and animal health and even structures. To date, it has only been detected in South Florida.

Everyone in Florida should be aware of these destructive snails, however. Recently, for the first time outside of South Florida, a billboard on I-4 south of Orlando has begun flashing a message about the snails, urging residents to watch for them and report any snail suspected of being a giant African land snail to the Helpline, 1-888-397-1517.

Florida agricultural officials fully expect to accomplish eradication. However, success depends on the snails not being transported, inadvertently or on purpose, to any other part of the state. That is why we have extended our outreach to central Florida.

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