- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Agriculture Department plans to check the state’s largest vineyards for invasive pests arriving in shipments of grapes from other states.

The agency said Tuesday it will set traps at 15 sites this spring for three species of moths and a leaf worm that are known to hurt grape production.

The department says it also will look for signs of two plant pathogens that attack grapevines.

The agency says Maryland has at least 49 vineyards, many with wineries that supplement their production with out-of-state grapes.

The department says the survey could increase the marketability of Maryland grapes and wines by enabling growers to declare their vineyards free of these pests.

The study is supported by $32,000 in federal funding from the 2014 Farm Bill.

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