Fight against devastating potato pest gets funding boost

WHAT:          Senator O’Mara to announce $1.2 million for the nation’s only quarantine research facility for potato pest Golden Nematode

WHEN:          Friday, Oct. 14, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:        170 Kenneth Post Laboratory, Cornell University

MEDIA:         Media members are asked to RSVP to Melissa Osgood in Cornell’s Media Relations Office at 607-255-2059 or


ITHACA, N.Y. – There’s nothing golden about the Golden Nematode. Currently quarantined to eight counties in New York state, this potato pest is so destructive and impossible to eradicate that, not controlled, it can lead to total crop failure. Additionally, the pest is so persistent in soil, living up to 30 years, that if it were to spread to other parts of the country it would compromise domestic and international trade as embargoes against any agricultural commodity that comes in contact with soil (e.g. all nursery, turf, root, and tuber crops) would be put in place.

While the collaborative effort involving Cornell University, the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) has kept the threat at bay for the past seven decades through quarantine, regulations and developing resistant potato varieties and management plans, the recent discovery of a new race of the Golden Nematode threatens the continued success of the quarantine program.

Senator Thomas O’Mara, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Kathryn J. Boor, and others will be speaking about the $1.2 million in new state funding that will be going to updating quarantine facilities, as well as the importance of the Golden Nematode Research Program to the state and beyond. The program is also funded by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.




Ellen Leventry

office: 607-255-2722

cell: 607-793-1441  


Melissa Osgood

office: 607-255-2059

cell: 607-882-3773



Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.