February 27-March 3 Declared National Invasive Species Awareness Week

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PIERRE, S.D.- Invasive species cause over $100 billion in economic losses annually in the United States. These costs are due to decreased agricultural production or quality, decreased access to markets or environmental degradation such as costs for control and restoration. At least 40 percent of threatened or endangered species are at risk due to the effects of non-native invasive species.

The National Invasive Species Council has declared Feb. 27-March 3 as National Invasive Species Awareness Week. The Council urges individuals to take steps to prevent the movement of invasive species.

The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health is advising people to:

·         Control invasive and noxious weeds on personal property.

·         Clean agricultural equipment before moving to another field. Soil can carry weed seeds and crop diseases. Reducing the spread is an important pest management tool in any farming or ranching operation.

·         Control the invasive plants on personal property. Inspect fence rows, ditches, and other non-crop areas. Controlling a smaller area now is better than controlling a larger area in the future.

·         Use native plants in food plots. Native plants provide the best food and cover for wildlife.

·         Use non-invasive plants in gardens.

“Export markets could be lost if certain invasive species become established in an area,” says Dale Anderson, South Dakota Department of Agriculture plant quarantine specialist. “Private and public land owners spend millions of dollars annually on unnecessary control activities. Invasive pests are usually very expensive to control once established, and often your taxpayer dollars are utilized to control them. Thus we all have a vested interest to do what we can to reduce the spread of invasive pests.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture has several programs that deal with invasive pests. Please visit http://sdda.sd.gov/ag-services/weed-and-pest-control/ for more information.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit SDDA online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. SD Ag Chat podcasts can be found in the Ag News section at http://sdda.sd.gov/news. You may subscribe, free of charge, through Google Play Music, iTunes or from https://sdagchat.podbean.com/.

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