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2023: A Year in Plant Health

Posted by Cecilia Sequeira, Public Affairs Specialist, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Plants
Jan 16, 2024
A person putting plants into a jar

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) closed out another successful year of protecting domestic plants from invasive threats while enabling safe trade. In 2023, APHIS employees inspected at least 2.82 billion pounds of imported crops from 19 countries—a testament to the year-round effort. Collaborating with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the ports, APHIS intercepted more than 109,000 plant pests at our borders.

Allocating over $70 million to support plant protection projects nationwide under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 Program, APHIS continues to protect our crops and natural resources. In 2023, APHIS swiftly responded to a detection of Ralstonia solanacearum. Employees tested over 4,000 plant samples across 12 states and 16 facilities within 21 days.

In June, APHIS released the Spotted Lanternfly 5-Year Strategy, a unified approach to combat the invasive insect. This year, APHIS also evaluated the Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection user fees to address inflation, capital improvements, and staffing needs, to ensure the program’s continued ability to protect U.S. agriculture, trade, and commerce.

Throughout the year, APHIS scientists conducted around 200 pest risk analyses, enhancing the agency's ability to make informed policy decisions and protect against invasive pathogens. Internationally, a significant achievement was negotiating with Bangladesh to eliminate a fumigation requirement for U.S.-sourced cotton, potentially expanding the $475 million cotton export market.

These accomplishments underscore APHIS' dedication to its mission. For a deeper dive, explore our most successful plant programs and activities in Plant Protection Today.

Category/Topic: Plants