Bennett Scores More Funding for Utah Cricket Control

Bennett Scores More Funding for Utah Cricket Control

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- More federal support is in the works to help control Mormon crickets, Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, announced on Wednesday.

Bennett, who heads the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, said the panel allocated $20 million for three western states for drought and cricket relief.

Utah will get $6.6 million; Nevada and Idaho will get the rest. The funding still needs approval from the full House and Senate.

The latest Utah Department of Agriculture report says crickets and five years of drought have done $200 million in damage to the state.

"These funds will bring relief to our state," Bennett said.

Earlier this year, the federal government allocated $4 million for Mormon cricket relief in the West, with Utah getting $1 million.

Last year, the state got just $650,000 for cricket control, Bennett's office said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the insect, which is actually a katydid rather than a true cricket, infested 3.2 million acres of land this year, up from nearly 2.5 million acres last year.

In 1997, only 1,180 acres were infested in Utah. Dry weather appears to favor the pests, and their numbers have grown rapidly.

The crickets got their name from their assaults on the crops of Mormon pioneers in the late 1840s.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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