APHIS Seeks Comments on several draft pest risk assessments

The governments of Swaziland, China and Brazil have asked USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of various commodities for consumption into the continental United States.  APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.

These risk assessments include citrus, pomegranates and jujube. Continue reading

Biologist/Computer Scientist (Bioinformatician)

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), Science and Technology’s (S&T) Core Functional Area, Beltsville laboratory is a world reference for regulatory plant pathogen diagnostic development, validation, and deployment for the detection of many complex diseases and pathogens that threaten agriculture and native plants.  Additionally, it provides hands-on training as a mechanism of technology transfer to scientists within PPQ programs, the USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) National Plant Diagnostic Network, and other state and Federal diagnostic laboratories. Continue reading

USDA Reminds Public: Don’t Move Wood Out of Areas Quarantined for Asian Longhorned Beetle

As colder weather approaches, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reminding the public not to move wood out of areas quarantined for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). It is important that people follow state and federal regulations, which restricts the movement of woody material, to keep this tree-killing pest from spreading outside of quarantined areas, particularly in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

“Preventing the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle to places outside of quarantined areas is critical to eliminating them from these three states, and we cannot do it without the help of residents and business owners in each state,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “As the weather gets colder and families begin using wood stoves and fireplaces, we are reminding the public to follow the regulations, especially when stocking up on firewood.” Continue reading

APHIS Seeks Comments on Draft Pest Risk Assessment for Carrots for Consumption from South Korea

The government of South Korea has asked USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of carrots for consumption into the continental United States.  APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.

APHIS shares draft pest risk assessments to determine whether stakeholders have information that might lead us to revise the draft assessment before we identify pest mitigations and proceed with official rulemaking. Continue reading

APHIS Announces Schedule for Certifying Offshore Greenhouses That Will Ship Geranium Cuttings to the United States During the 2017-2018 Season

APHIS announced today that it will conduct annual certification visits in November and December to offshore facilities that wish to ship geranium (Pelargonium spp.) cuttings to the United States during the 2017-2018 season. During these visits, APHIS will confirm that the offshore facility meets or exceeds the “Minimum Sanitation Protocols for Offshore Geranium Cutting Production.”

APHIS must physically visit and certify all interested offshore facilities before December 31, 2017. Participating facilities must cover the full cost of these certification visits, including travel, salary, benefits, and overtime. The facilities will provide these funds through a trust fund established through a signed cooperative services agreement. Continue reading

APHIS Posts New Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication Program Report

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication Program in Idaho has posted its 2017 third quarter report (July 1 – September 30). The report updates program activities and eradication progress, and provides quarterly and aggregate regulatory, survey and laboratory data.

The PCN Eradication Program is a cooperative effort among PPQ, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, and industry stakeholders. The program’s goal is to control PCN spread, and eventually establish Idaho as PCN-free. Continue reading

APHIS Adds South Carolina to the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) Regulated Area

Effective immediately, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is adding all of South Carolina to the list of regulated areas for the emerald ash borer (EAB). APHIS is taking this action in response to the detection of EAB in Greenville, Oconee, and Spartanburg Counties and because the state has decided to establish a full state quarantine.

To prevent the spread of EAB to other states, the attached Federal Order outlines specific conditions for the interstate movement of EAB-regulated articles from South Carolina. Specifically, the interstate movement of EAB-host wood and wood products from South Carolina is regulated, including firewood of all hardwood species, nursery stock, green lumber, waste, compost, and chips of ash species. Continue reading