AMITY TWP., Pa. – U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan is looking for increased federal funding to help combat the spotted lanternfly.
Houlahan said she and the rest of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation will send a letter to the U.S. agriculture secretary, asking for more funding over the next two years. She said the letter has bipartisan support, with an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans looking to bite back at the bug.
"I am committed to fighting for our community's farmers and the crucial role they play in our local economy," Houlahan said during a visit to Berks County on Tuesday.
Spotted lanternflies are causing substantial damage to crops in the state. An analysis by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture concluded that the potential damage from the insect could reach $18 billion a year in the state.
Darvin Levengood, owner of Manatawny Creek Winery, said he's seen the damage firsthand.
"I would estimate in the spring of 2019, we observed about 1,000 vines that had died," he said.
Levengood said, like many of his fellow wine makers, he has no plans to replant until the spotted lanternfly population is under control.