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Plant Protection Today - PPQ’s Safeguarding Continuum

PPQ’s Safeguarding Continuum
January 28, 2020

This is How We Safeguard America’s Crops and Forests

By Greg Rosenthal

There’s a good reason why “Protection” is the middle name of USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program. PPQ is a vigilant protector that stands between destructive invasive pests and the health of our country’s farms, ranches, nurseries, and forests. Safeguarding these resources is PPQ’s core objective, one that the U.S. Congress has directed us to fulfill through the Plant Protection Act. We have an enormous responsibility—and we take it very seriously.

To protect America’s agriculture and ecosystems, PPQ has established a system of safeguards that begins abroad, continues through U.S. ports of entry, and extends across the nation. It’s called the Safeguarding Continuum.


We begin our fight against pests and diseases before they ever have a chance to come here. Look at the slides to see how we do it:    

At the Border

U.S. ports of entry are our last chance to keep pests and diseases out of our country. And PPQ mounts a powerful defense against them. The slideshow tells the story:

Across the Nation

Sometimes pests and diseases do enter the United States. And so the Safeguarding Continuum stretches out across the Nation. Here’s how:

PPQ also conducts outreach across the Nation to inform the public about the invasive species threat and how to prevent their spread. We work closely with our Agency’s Legislative and Public Affairs staff, which developed award-winning public awareness campaigns like Hungry Pests and the Asian Longhorned Beetle.

A Relentless Drive for Improvement

As global trade continues to expand, the pressure of invasive pest and disease introductions will also increase. To keep ahead of the threat, PPQ continually applies the latest science and technology to develop the most effective survey methods, diagnostic support, treatment technologies, risk evaluations, and strategic program alternatives. We also analyze pest interception data to identify the imports with the highest risk. Then we can address the problem at its source. 

All of these efforts strengthen our Safeguarding Continuum. That allows us to more effectively protect the bounty and beauty of America’s agricultural and natural resources. And the livelihoods of America’s farmers, ranchers, nursery growers, and foresters that depend on those resources.

The United Nations declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH). This worldwide campaign is promoting the value of our precious plant resources and the need to safeguard them against invasive pests. To celebrate IYPH, each month Plant Protection Today will highlight how PPQ safeguards America’s agricultural and natural resources against invasive pests, and facilitates the safe trade of agricultural products. Read our article on IYPH to learn more—and how you can join this once-in-a-lifetime event!

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