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

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

Plant Protection Program Manager – American Public Gardens Association

The American Public Gardens Association seeks a plant protection program manager. The Plant Protection Program Manager will ensure the Plant Protection Program’s ongoing engagement with Association members, recruit and retain new gardens, secure and steward programmatic funding and budgets, and continue to expand the program.  They train staff at several member gardens, coordinate targeted pest surveys, and develop new and revised educational materials about the importance of the urban forest, forest health, and plant protection for various audiences.

The Plant Protection Program currently combines the Sentinel Plant Network, Plant Heroes™, and other important urban forest health elements into a cohesive and powerful platform that positions our gardens as leaders in the battle against invasive species and other threats to healthy forests and gardens. Continue reading

North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) Seeks New Project Proposals

The North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) is seeking new project proposals from June 1 to July 31, 2017. This is the first step in NAPPO’s process for identifying new projects or topics to add to its work program. This is also the initial step in the NAPPO standard-setting process for proposals that seek to develop a regional standard.

U.S. stakeholders are invited to work with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to submit new project proposals. Proposals may focus on the development or revision of regional standards, workshops (e.g. to improve the implementation of standards), technical and scientific documents, surveillance protocols, or other projects to develop similar and consistent approaches for plant health measures. For your reference, the NAPPO Secretariat has posted on its Web site a list of current projects and topics. They have also posted a list of regional standards that need updating. Continue reading

Crop Protection Contributions toward Agricultural Productivity

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) is releasing an issue paper titled Crop Protection Contributions toward Agricultural Productivity–a paper in the series on The Need for Agricultural Innovation to Sustainably Feed the World by 2050. The presenter will be Dr. Susan Ratcliffe, task force chair of the project and director of the North Central IPM Center at the University of Illinois.

Pre-register here.

The authors of the paper examine the current plant protection revolution that is driven by the biological realities of pesticide resistance, various market forces, and real or perceived side effects of pesticides, while stressing the need for new technologies and an integrated cropping systems approach.

CAST Issue Paper 58 will be available April 5 as a free download from the CAST website, cast-science.org/publications. Continue reading

APHIS Releases New Weed Risk Assessment

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) has posted Weed Risk Assessments (WRA) for the following seven weed species:

Continue reading

APHIS Issues Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Giant Reed Biological Control Agent

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the release of Lasioptera donacis in the continental United States to biologically control giant reed, Arundo donax. Based on the finding of no significant impact, we will not prepare an environmental impact statement.

Giant reed is a pervasive non-native plant that has invaded riparian areas (areas where land meets river or stream) of the Southwest United States, especially in California and the Rio Grande area of Texas. These infestations cause stream bank erosion, damage to structures like bridges, and a loss of biodiversity. Giant reed infestations also provide habitat for cattle fever ticks that spread bovine babesiosis, a devastating and costly cattle disease. In addition, the infestations impede law enforcement activities on the international border. Federal, state, and private entities who conduct giant reed management programs and wish to release Lasioptera donacis to reduce the severity of giant reed infestations in the continental United States should contact APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine for a permit. Continue reading