The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is celebrating the agency’s many successful efforts over the past year.
“It’s been a challenging but productive year, with our dedicated employees working tirelessly to meet our mission of protecting American agriculture and natural resources,” said APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea. “But our work benefits more than just our farmers and ranchers. The effort our public servants put in every day help maintain our economy, ensure consumers have a variety of foods to eat, protect our recreation activities and keep the skies safe for the flying public.”
Plum Pox eradication
One of the successes is the fact that, after a 20-year battle, APHIS declared the United States free of the plum pox virus, which is considered the most devastating viral disease of stone fruit worldwide. By eradicating this disease, APHIS and State departments of agriculture, universities, and tribes protect more than 1 million commercial acres of stone fruit across the country, as well as stone fruit exports worth more than $5.4 billion. Now that the United States is free of plum pox, APHIS put protocols in place to keep the disease from entering our borders, including development of a plant germplasm quarantine center that will prevent importation of the plum pox virus.
APHIS plays a vital role in ensuring the free flow of agricultural trade by keeping US agriculture free from pests and diseases and certifying that the millions of US agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries' entry requirements. APHIS also keeps export markets open for American agricultural products by working to eliminate unjustified sanitary or phytosanitary barriers - that is, concerns involving plant and animal health - raised by US trading partners. APHIS eliminated unjustified sanitary and phytosanitary barriers for export markets worth more than $90 million a year in just the last three months of fiscal year 2019.