Conklin announces spotted lanternfly mitigation grant for Penn State

HARRISBURG, July 1 – Pennsylvania State University has been awarded $69,767 in state funds to mitigate the impacts of spotted lanternfly in the hardwood ornamentals industry, state Rep. Scott Conkin announced.

Conkin, D-Centre, said the Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant program, part of the historic PA Farm Bill, supports projects to help grow and protect high-priority crops, including hardwoods.

“Thirty-four counties in our state, including Centre, are battling this invasive pest,” Conklin said. “If it isn’t contained, the spotted lanternfly could potentially drain our state economy of at least $324 million each year, and it has quite the appetite for many of our economically vital plants, including maple, black walnut, birch, willow and other trees. This grant will be extremely helpful in supporting Penn State’s efforts to curb the insect’s spread.”

The state Specialty Crop Block Grant program was created to enhance the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program by establishing a state program for crops that are either not currently eligible for federal support, or that are designated as high-priority specialty crops. In addition to hardwoods, high priority crops include hemp, hops and honey; and barley, rye, and wheat for distilling, brewing and malting. Projects aim to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of specialty crops through research to increase conservation and environmental outcomes, enhance food safety, develop new and improved seed varieties, or improve pest and disease control.

More information on the grant program can be found at this link: