US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawai‘i is calling on Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to step in and provide “immediate support” toward efforts to control and eradicate the invasive spittlebug pest that he says is threatening Hawai‘i Island’s livestock industry.
“This invasive pest could destroy Hawai‘i’s proud heritage of ranching by decimating the pastures that allow Hawai‘i cattle to grow strong and healthy,” Senator Schatz wrote in his letter to Secretary Perdue. “Our ranchers need your help urgently to maintain this vibrant part of Hawai‘i’s agricultural economy.”
Schatz called for immediate federal aid for Hawai‘i Island ranchers affected by the pest and additional resources to help save critical grazing land from further destruction.
The two-lined spittlebug is native to the southern United States and was first discovered on Hawai‘i Island in 2016, when it damaged nearly 2,000 acres of grazing land. Since then, the invasive pest has devastated more than 125,000 acres of pasture grass.