New Plant, Animal, and Insect Laboratory for Maine: AGRICULTURE
Maine’s agricultural economy is the largest in New England with over 8,100 farms and 1.3 million acres of farmland. The management of insects plant diseases, and other pests is an integral part of the production of every crop in Maine, yet effective, safe management of these pests can be a challenge. The new Plant, Animal, and Insect Laboratory will be an invaluable asset to Maine’s farms and its increasing number of new farmers.
The current Insect and Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab has been vital in the early detection and management of emerging agricultural pests, including spotted wing Drosophila which resulted in a $3.7 million cost to the Maine blueberry industry in 2012.
The lab’s coordination and association with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Potato IPM program have resulted in a nearly $12,000,000 yearly impact on Maine’s $500 million potato industry.
- The new lab will enhance the pest monitoring, disease forecasting, and educational outreach University of Maine Cooperative Extension provides to Maine’s farming community.
- With over 120,000 head of livestock and over 1.5 million head of poultry, Maine’s farms face distinct threats from preventable diseases, such as salmonella and listeria.
Through the existing Animal Diagnostic Lab’s work on parasite, bacteria, and disease prevention, the facility has an estimated $18,000,000 impact on Maine’s dairy, poultry, and sheep industries.
The new lab will allow the animal diagnostic program to expand its work on large mammals including horses, cattle, and wildlife, increasing its impact on Maine’s agricultural and natural resource-based economies.