Eradicating Invasive Species
During 2018, APHIS announced the eradication of three different invasive species. U.S. cotton is now free of the devastating pink bollworm thanks to a rigorous program carried out by APHIS and its indispensable partners including State departments of agriculture and. cotton growers. With the eradication, USDA lifted the domestic quarantine for pink bollworm, which relieves restrictions on the domestic and international movement of U.S. cotton and saves producers millions of dollars each year on treatment costs.
APHIS and its partners successfully eliminated feral swine from Maryland and New Jersey. Three additional States (Iowa, Maine, and Oregon) saw significant reductions in feral swine populations. Feral swine cause major damage to property, agriculture (crops and livestock), native species and ecosystems, and cultural and historic resources. In fact, this invasive species costs the United States an estimated $1.5 billion each year in damages. Feral swine also threaten the health of people, wildlife, pets, and other domestic animals. Through a strong cooperative effort, we are seeing successes but we must continue our efforts elsewhere in the country.
APHIS declared two Ohio communities free of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB): Monroe Township (after a seven-year eradication effort) and Stonelick Township (after a six-year eradication effort). The ALB has the potential to destroy millions of acres of American hardwood tree, including national forests and backyard trees.
Launching “Defend the Flock” Outreach Campaign
Considering the devastating impact of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in 2014-2015, as well as other poultry health issues in recent years, APHIS launched a new outreach campaign in 2018 focused on preventing the spread of infectious poultry diseases in both commercial and backyard poultry. The “Defend the Flock” campaign to promote biosecurity emphasizes the need for everyone who works with or owns poultry to work together to protect the health of all our poultry flocks. While the Nation has seen great strides in biosecurity over the past few years, biosecurity is an every day, every time effort. “Defend the Flock” provides anyone who works with poultry with the awareness, training, and reminders necessary to sustain good biosecurity practices.
In 2018, APHIS was very busy responding to a variety of plant and animal emergencies, protecting the health of our nation’s plant, animal, and natural resources and our ability to export billions of dollars in agricultural commodities. APHIS responded to several foreign pest and disease detections, including virulent Newcastle disease in California, spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania and other States, and European cherry fruit fly in New York. APHIS also provided emergency support to protect pets and livestock during natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. APHIS is currently providing support for the California wildfire response, including providing personnel and equipment for animal feeding efforts.
Export Markets Opened &Retained
APHIS helps ensure safe and free-flowing agricultural trade – worth more than $50 billion annually – by keeping U.S. agricultural industries free from pests and diseases and certifying that the millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries' entry requirements. APHIS also ensures imported agricultural products shipped to the United States from abroad meet the Agency's entry requirements to keep pests and diseases of agriculture from entering.
Read more about APHIS’ successes in our end of year accomplishments report.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.