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Animals

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Odin is a Labrador retriever/border collie mix. By watching his wagging tail and alert expression, Colorado State University researcher Dr. Glen Golden can sense he is eager to begin his training.

Odin is one of five dogs recently adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers to become detector dogs for wildlife disease surveillance. The dogs are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect and identify waterfowl feces or carcasses infected with avian influenza (AI). If successful, this collaboration may be extended an additional 12 months.

Knowledge is Power with New Users Guides for Pork and Swine Market Reports

The smell of pork barbeque fills the country air – must be time for the summer grilling season! Before pork makes its way into the store and onto your grill, complex transactions occur between producers, packers, retailers, and foodservice providers. To ensure market transparency, USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting Program (LMR) provides the U.S. pork industry the market intelligence they need to competitively buy and sell pork.

Regionalization Plays a Key Role in Facilitating U.S. Agricultural Trade

It’s World Trade Month and a good time to consider a few of the ways that USDA helps advance trade. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plays a vital role in the free flow of agricultural trade by keeping U.S. agriculture free from pests and diseases and certifying that millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries' entry requirements. Likewise, APHIS works to ensure all imported agricultural products shipped to the United States meet our requirements to prevent pests and diseases from harming U.S. agriculture. Last year the United States exported over $138 billion of agricultural products and imported over $120 billion.

Know the Lei of the Land: APHIS Plant Health Safeguarding Specialists’ Work in Hawaii

Aloha! I am a Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist based in Hawaii, where my colleagues and I help protect agricultural crops and natural resources on the U.S. mainland from plant pests like exotic fruit flies, Asian citrus psyllid and the coconut rhinoceros beetle. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s multi-faceted predeparture inspection program supports the movement of travelers, baggage, cargo and mail leaving the Hawaiian Islands, while working to stop the movement of invasive pests.

Protecting Agriculture on the Internet – One Click, One Post, One Sale at a Time

While we are raising awareness about invasive pests during Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, I wanted to share a bit about what I do every day to protect agriculture. When you picture someone on the front lines of stopping invasive pests, you probably picture someone outside – in a field or a tree. But I fight invasive pests from a completely different location – my computer.

It’s a Small World After All

The United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed April 2018 as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The goal of IPPDAM is to: increase public awareness of invasive species; provide tips to prevent their spread; and, encourage residents to report signs of them. Today we highlight USDA’s Heather Coady. Ms. Coady, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employees like her, assist other countries in their pest control efforts by working to stop pests at the source.

Feral Swine Eradication in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge: Protecting Endangered Species from Feral Swine Damage

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge encompasses 37,515 acres of riverine, riparian, wetland, and desert upland habitats protecting one of the last remaining natural stretches of the lower Colorado River along the Arizona and California borders. The refuge is an important breeding ground and migratory flyway stopover for over 300 species of birds.

Climbing Trees – How I Met My Beetle Family and Gave Back to the Community

April may be Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, but I live it year-round. I spend my days with a team of fellow tree climbers, looking for signs of Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) damage in the treetops of Bethel, Ohio. This is where ALB damage is most evident – oftentimes not visible from the ground level. ALB damages and kills maple and other hardwood trees.

Reaching American Indian Nation Project Brings Outreach to Tribes on Invasive Species

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is helping Tribes in Washington State find and fight invasive species with funds from the 2014 Farm Bill Section 10007. The Reaching American Indian (RAIN4) project helps tribes identify and combat invasive species that are harmful to native plants, fisheries and animals that are harvested for food. Invasive species—including knotweed, Asian gypsy moth, zebra mussels, and a wide range of other foreign organisms—threaten these valuable resources.

Traveling to South Korea for the Olympics? Bring Back Great Memories, Not a Pest or Disease

The Winter Olympics begin shortly in South Korea, bringing us two weeks of incredible athletic performances. While many of us will watch the games from our TVs, computers or phones, some lucky individuals will travel to witness the games in person. And when traveling, people often bring back items as souvenirs or as gifts for those of us at home. If you are traveling to the Olympics (or anywhere outside the country), keep in mind there are rules about agricultural products being brought into the U.S.