Emerald Ash Borer Town Hall at Governor’s Ag Summit

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The Emerald Ash Borer has spread across 35 states since it was found in Michigan back in 2002. Just last year, the invasive insect was found in northern Sioux Falls.

“Everywhere in South Dakota will be impacted by this in the next 20 years, no community will be spared,” forest health specialist with South Dakota Department of Agriculture, John Ball said.

That’s the message forest health specialist John Ball wants everyone to be aware of. The Emerald Ash Borer arrived in Sioux Falls in 2018 and it’s already spreading.

“Once the insect is found in your community or in your county, you can start the clock, and within about 10 years you’re going to find that every ash tree has become infested and most of them have died, in South Dakota we cannot depend on the fact that your ash tree is going to survive,” Ball said.

Thursday’s Emerald Ash Borer Town Hall at the Ag Summit brought out a handful of people to learn about the topic.

“It’s been planted extensively in our communities, it’s planted in wind breaks, it’s also native to our wooded draws and our naturally wooded areas,” State forester for South Dakota Dept. of Agriculture, Greg Josten said.

State forester Greg Josten says Ash trees can be found anywhere in the state, in both urban and rural places.

“Producers are also going to be affected by this, the structure of their windbreaks is also going to be affected and something that they’re going to have be aware of and realize those windbreaks are going to require some sort of renovation in the future in order to maintain their functionality,” Josten said.

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