This is a special year for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Not only are we celebrating USDA’s 150th anniversary, but we are also commemorating our own 40th anniversary. Through the years, it’s likely you’ve heard about or witnessed firsthand some of APHIS’ activities, or seen the hard-won results of our work—perhaps without even knowing it.
Our basic charge is protecting the nation’s food, agricultural, and natural resources, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, which began long before USDA merged two separate regulatory bureaus and created APHIS in 1972.
Did you know that APHIS’ predecessor, the Bureau of Plant Industry, played a critical role in the planting of the Japanese cherry trees skirting the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.? The first shipment of trees in 1910 arrived in the United States heavily infested. Japanese scientists worked with the Bureau to ensure that the second shipment would be pest-free and safe to plant. This time of year, the beautiful show of cherry blossoms reminds us of the importance of our vigilance.