The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking feedback on its proposed list of pests and diseases of concern that are likely to pose a high risk to U.S. agricultural and natural resources.
Section 12203 of the 2018 Farm Bill requires pest- and disease-planning activities that mirror the extensive planning efforts APHIS already performs. Specifically, it requires APHIS to develop a uniform list of pests and diseases that represent the gravest threat to the United States and to develop comprehensive response plans to ensure Federal and State governments are prepared to respond to them.
APHIS is publishing the list on its website. The agency will review comments from the public about the list, including suggestions of pests or diseases that should be added or removed. In providing comments, individuals should keep in mind that the Farm Bill definition of a pest or disease of concern limits this list to those that are “likely to pose a significant risk to the food and agricultural critical infrastructure sector” and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible pests or diseases. Comments may be submitted to APHISPestDiseaseList@usda.gov.
After reviewing feedback and potentially revising the list, APHIS will ensure it has fully developed comprehensive response plans to address the pests and diseases on the list. Additionally, it will continue to work with its State partners on response plans they wish to create. The agency will also continue to periodically test those plans to ensure awareness of each organization’s roles and responsibilities.
APHIS continues to practice its thorough planning to prevent the introduction of potential pests and diseases into the United States. The presence or absence of a pest or disease on this list does not preclude APHIS from taking appropriate actions to protect plant or animal health. If a threat emerges that is not on the list, APHIS will respond appropriately, according to the agency.
APHIS promises to keep the United States free of foreign animal and plant pests and diseases, which the agency says benefits American producers and consumers by maintaining the value of U.S. agricultural and food resources and upholding and expanding export markets abroad.
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