CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The federal government is providing emergency funding to help suppress costly grasshopper outbreaks this summer in western rangeland states like Wyoming and Montana. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday that nearly $11 million will be available through the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The department says the funding could protect up to 4 million acres of rangeland.
Pest grasshopper species that devour rangeland grass have begun hatching in recent weeks. Several Wyoming counties have already begun aerial spraying programs. Wyoming's congressional delegation cheered the funding announcement. The USDA says it's also prepared to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers that suffer eligible documented loss to grasshopper infestations.