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Plant Protection Today - The United States and Canada Enhance Their Joint Plant Protection Efforts

The United States and Canada Enhance Their Joint Plant Protection Efforts
August 29, 2022

[Dr. Mark Davidson (left), USDA Deputy Administrator for Plant Protection and Quarantine, and David Bailey, Acting Executive Director of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate, sign the U.S.-Canada Coordinated Phytosanitary Mitigation Framework. Photo courtesy of CFIA.] 

Invasive Plant Pests and Diseases Don’t Respect National Borders

By Greg Rosenthal

The United States is fortunate to have Canada on the other side of our northern border. In addition to being our good friend and close ally, Canada is one of our top trading partners. That relationship delivers economic benefits to citizens on both sides of the border. And when it comes to agriculture, our governments work hard to apply science and international standards to keep trade safely flowing. The goal is to continue trading billions of dollars’ worth of agricultural goods while safeguarding agriculture and natural resources from invasive plant pests affecting North America.

Protecting plants against invasive pests and diseases must be an international activity because pests don’t respect national borders when they hitchhike in or on agricultural commodities. That’s why Dr. Mark Davidson, Deputy Administrator for USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine, visited Canada in July. His trip provided an opportunity to enhance coordination of plant protection activities north and south of the border.

Deputy Administrator Davidson met with officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), including Kathleen Donohue, Vice-President, International Affairs Branch, and David Bailey, Acting Executive Director of the Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate. They discussed plant health threats of mutual concern. A highlight of the trip was finalizing a new bilateral agreement between the countries to enhance coordination, collaboration, and the discussion of plant protection activities.

“During that trip, I signed an agreement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency called the ‘U.S.-Canada Coordinated Phytosanitary Mitigation Framework’,” said Deputy Administrator Davidson. “The framework will further increase U.S.-Canada cooperation to safeguard farms, forests, and more against invasive plant pests—on both sides of our shared border.” 

The framework will help both countries optimize their mutual authorities to target invasive plant pests of mutual concern, including potato wart, box tree moth, European cherry fruit fly, and plum pox virus, among others. Its approach supports a key International Plant Protection Convention strategic objective: protecting sustainable agriculture and enhancing global food security through the prevention of pest spread. Implementing the approach will result in a more robust safeguarding system for both Canada and the United States. By working together, the two countries can prevent the introduction of plant pests that threaten their valuable plant resources.

“This agreement further strengthens our longstanding relationship with the USDA-APHIS and our efforts in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive pests across our borders,” said Acting Executive Director Bailey. “The introduction of foreign plant pests can be devastating to our forests, agriculture and natural environment and have negative impacts on the people, industries, and economy that depend on those sectors. By cooperating in the fight against invasive species, both of our countries will benefit. I look forward to working together to put this framework into action.”

Signing the framework is just the beginning. “We are eager to create the action plans that will build out the framework in the coming months,” said Deputy Administrator Davidson. “This will enhance plant protection on both sides of the border, benefiting our farms, natural ecosystems, and economies.”

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