Plant pest prevention, disease management and disaster prevention programs implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), funded by the Farm Bill, help to protect our natural and agricultural resources from foreign pest threats through pest surveys, identification, inspection, mitigation, risk analysis, public education and outreach. These programs aid APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) in establishing safeguards from the entry, establishment and spread of pests and noxious invasive, weeds into the US, they also provide support for safe and conscientious trade and export of agricultural products.
APHIS PPQ’s strategic plan for 2010-2015 analyzed changing patterns and trends within the agricultural industry, global trade markets, political agendas as well as scientific and technological research and advances. The leadership team who authored the plan then developed actionable goals and strategies to build on current program strengths, address weaknesses and make recommendations for improvements. Three major goals were outlined which support the PPQ mission and advance it into the future:
I) Overreaching/Cross-cutting goals comprise high priority goals that will reach every program activity and lead to long term success,
II) Program oriented strategic goals includes mission oriented goals focused on the full range of safeguarding activities; pest exclusion and prevention, pest detection, emergency preparedness, response and recovery and ongoing pest-specific programs
III) Management initiatives which aim to strengthen internal abilities to successfully carry out their mission in the face of emerging issues and threats.
The overarching idea behind goal one is strengthening public outreach; APHIS PPQ would like to increases exchanges among the public and stakeholders. The program aims to advance awareness and acceptance, understanding and support of their overall mission. Stakeholders should know that their input and concerns will be heard and incorporated into future goals and plans.
In order to accomplish the second goal, USDA APHIS PPQ plans to build and/or expand partnerships with state, local and federal agencies as well as coalitions, tribal and international agencies. PPQ acknowledges that they cannot effectively carry out their mission alone and relies on strong collaborative relationships with other agencies, programs, municipalities and stakeholders to aid in the development and implementation of scientifically sound, safe approaches to pest identification and exclusion, detection, monitoring and eradication.
The third major outlined goal will require enhancing PPQ’s foundation of science and technology upon which it relies to fully implement policy and regulatory decision-making and maintenance of international leadership for plant health issues. Accomplishing the overall mission is dependent on the application of scientific knowledge and skills regarding plant pests and diseases. Staff must maintain the highest level of acuity in these areas.
For more information on the USDA, the APHIS branch and the PPQ program please visit: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/home/. Keep up to date with pest problems, disease management and issues in your area, see what you can do to help stem the spread and keep your landscape and community free from noxious weeds, invasive pests and diseases.