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animal and plant health inspection service

Becoming a Tree Climber: Training in the Trees

For the first time ever, expert tree climbers with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program trained fellow APHIS employees from another program on how to climb trees with a purpose.

Tracking Citrus Health in the Texas Rio Grande Valley

Growing up in the Texas Rio Grande Valley - in the richness of Mexican-Texan culture, tradition, and food - citrus is a staple in our everyday life. But I never knew that diseases threatened citrus production. That changed this summer. As a communications intern, I had the opportunity to job shadow employees in APHIS’ Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP). CHRP is responsible for surveying and regulating invasive pests and diseases that harm citrus crops:

African Swine Fever, Part 1: A Look at the Past

African swine fever (ASF) has existed for more than a century. ASF is a highly contagious, deadly disease affecting both domestic and feral pigs, devastating pork industries around the globe. ASF was first described in 1921 in Kenya. In the decades that followed, it spread in several sub-Saharan African countries but remained on the African Continent until 1957.

For the Love of Trees, Please Check Yours for Asian Longhorned Beetle

I recently decided to go for a walk on a seasonably warm afternoon. I got out of my car at a wooded recreation area and immediately noticed how much cooler the air felt, thanks to the biggest plants on Earth – trees. From my years growing up on and then managing my family’s organic walnut farm I have a deep respect for trees. They provide countless benefits to us and the planet. They provide food and shelter, they cool and improve air quality, so it’s important to me to protect this valuable resource from invasive pests and diseases.

Scientists Explore Gene Editing to Manage Invasive Species

In the U.S., the environmental and economic costs caused by invasive species are estimated to exceed $120 billion per year. Since invasive pests have few or no natural predators, they can quickly spread, and throw off entire ecosystems by pushing out native species and reducing biological diversity. Once introduced, non-native insects can decimate crops and forests. Invasive rodents are also disruptive—particularly on island ecosystems, where they are the leading cause of plant and animal extinctions. Exotic plant pests and diseases threaten U.S. food security, quality of life, and the economy.

Recognizing the Resilience of USDA Veterinarians this World Veterinary Day

April 30 is World Veterinary Day: a day to celebrate veterinarians, their work and their impact. Although the importance of veterinarians is hardly a secret, people often forget that veterinarians’ work goes beyond clinical care of animals. USDA employs more veterinarians than any other department in the federal government, with positions located across the nation and associated territories. The breadth of roles that veterinarians fill at USDA illustrates their versatility. Veterinary epidemiologist, emergency responder, laboratory diagnostician, and public health veterinarian are just some of the roles that USDA veterinarians fill every day.

APHIS Supports Earth Day Mission Every Day

Earth Day is a global movement empowering people to create real change in the world to help our environment and natural resources. I recently visited two Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) laboratories to see the actions they are taking to stop invasive insects and protect crops and trees.

APHIS Employee Saves Another Life While on Duty

For the second time in his career, Marvin Enoe, Tree Climber Supervisor with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Ohio Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program, was in the right place at the right time. While driving for work, Enoe stopped to deliver life-saving aid to a tractor trailer driver lying on the side of the highway.

Our ALB Ohio People’s Garden

The Ohio Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Eradication Program in Ohio started participating in USDA’s People's Garden initiative to grow fresh produce for those in need within our local community. One of our tree climbers started the garden at the Bethel office and formed a partnership with the Kitchen of Hope; a local food kitchen that has prepared food for hungry people since 2012. Although our garden was closed due to the pandemic in 2020, we have grown 729 pounds of fresh produce for the Kitchen of Hope since 2018.