The Federal government says there will not be enough fungicides if there is a serious outbreak of Asian soybean rust (ASR) disease this growing season. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has assessed preparations by USDA in 31 individual states to fight soybean rust. "The states generally responded positively when discussing efforts to educate growers and others on ASR," said Robert Robinson, GAO Managing Director, Natural Resources and Environment. "However, some of the states reported that their diagnostic laboratories may have insufficient funding and/or staff to test suspected samples for [rust]. In addition, most states indicated that they were either uncertain or did not believe they would have enough equipment available to apply fungicides to treat the disease."
Informa Economics reports that GAO says there is also uncertainty about crop insurance coverage, even though USDA’s Risk Management Agency recently developed additional guidance on the actions growers must take to ensure that any losses due to rust are covered under their insurance policies. "Growers have expressed concerns about what they need to do to demonstrate good farming practices in treating ASR and the documentation they must provide to demonstrate that they followed such practices," Robinson said. "Although USDA’s framework is generally comprehensive, more information is needed regarding how it will be implemented."