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Lawmakers increase funding to combat grasshoppers and crickets

Grasshoppers
File photo
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Oregon Department of Agriculture
Grasshoppers and crickets are decimating crops in parts of eastern and central Oregon

Oregon lawmakers have signed off on an additional $1.2 million to fight hungry grasshoppers and crickets.

It comes after the Oregon Department of Agriculture said an initial $5 million approved last year won’t be enough to suppress the outbreak, which has spread to more than 10 million acres.

“Drought conditions in central and eastern Oregon have caused a significant increase in grasshopper production and crickets, and they are adversely impacting farming and grazing lands throughout my district,” said Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, during a Friday meeting of the Legislature’s Emergency Board.

The money will go into a cost-sharing fund that allows private landowners to be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the cost of the pest control program.

"This has been a big problem down here in Klamath County," said Rep. E. Werner Reschke, R-Malin, who said he's gotten photos from his constituents that showed "plague-like" conditions.

The ODA is accepting applications for the grasshopper and cricket suppression program until August 1.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”