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USDA Launches Website for Stakeholders to Track Commodity Import Request Process

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Contact:
Alyn Kiel (301) 851-4072
Lyndsay Cole (970) 494-7410

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2012—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new website to provide stakeholders with information about the process for requesting and approving new imports of plants and plant products, including fruits, vegetables, plants for planting, cut flowers, wood, and wood products.

The new Website will allow stakeholders to take a more active role in the development of risk assessments as they are being drafted. After subscribing to the PPQ stakeholder registry, stakeholders will receive an alert whenever a draft risk assessment becomes available for comment. APHIS will post draft risk assessments on the website for 30 days to give stakeholders an opportunity to review the draft and provide comments via email. We will then consider the comments and make changes to draft risk assessments, if warranted. While we will not provide individual responses to stakeholders who have submitted comments on the draft risk assessment, APHIS will continue to respond to comments submitted by stakeholders after availability of the completed risk assessment is announced in the Federal Register.

In addition to allowing stakeholders to provide feedback on draft risk assessments, the website will also provide general information on each major step in the commodity import request process.

With Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, APHIS works tirelessly to create and sustain opportunities for America's farmers, ranchers and producers. Each day, APHIS promotes U.S. agricultural health, regulates genetically engineered organisms, administers the Animal Welfare Act, and carries out wildlife damage management activities, all to safeguard the nation's $157 billion agriculture, fishing and forestry industries. In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states and other countries to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America's agricultural exports, valued at more than $137 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

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