APHIS Releases 2023 Impact Report

Veterinarian swabbing a chicken

Dear Stakeholders,

Each year, we have the honor of sharing the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services’ (APHIS) achievements through our Impact Report.  

No matter what challenges we faced, we rose to the occasion and made sure that our work of safeguarding America’s agriculture and natural resources, protecting vulnerable animals, and feeding and clothing the world continued. 

On behalf of our more than 8,250 employees, working in all 50 States, 3 territories, and 27 countries, I am pleased to share with you our 2023 Impact Report.  Among the highlights:

  • Inspected and cleared 3.31 billion pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from 20 countries before they were shipped to the United States. Oversaw a systems approach for the safe import of 2.96 billion pounds of avocados in Mexico.
  • Expanded the export of U.S. fresh potatoes to Mexico by 48 percent from January to November 2023. Total exports of U.S. potatoes to Mexico were worth an estimated $118 million. 
  • Continued to assist the Dominican Republic and Haiti in their African swine fever (ASF) program by providing advice and assistance on surveillance, quarantine, depopulation, and disposal methods; providing testing support; outreach; staff training; expanding surveillance; and bolstering in-country testing capacity.
  • Continued to enforce an ASF protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; enhanced pre-departure activities by adding temporary staff, canine detector teams, and x-ray machines, as well as conducting training for staff in inspecting for animal products; and increased Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance market surveys in the protection zone to identify potential regulated or prohibited product and ensure its removal from the marketplace. 
  • Continued an emergency program to address nationwide detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Performed more than 1.4 million tests on commercial poultry flocks through National Poultry Improvement Plan cooperative agreements and coordinated the collection of more than 31,000 wild bird samples, helping protect the U.S. poultry industry—valued at $77 billion.
  • Awarded $2.3 million to further support 14 National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) projects to enhance the early detection of high-consequence animal diseases. 
  • Facilitated new markets for a wide range of U.S.-origin animals, animal products, plants and plant products including animal products and live animals to Israel worth an estimated $75 million over the next 5 years and fresh grapefruit to Vietnam worth an estimated $5 million per year. 
  • Produced 1 billion sterile Mediterranean fruit flies weekly at the El Pino sterile insect facility in Guatemala, supporting preventative release programs in California and Florida, along with population control efforts in Guatemala and Mexico.
  • In a One Health initiative with Federal, State, and Tribal partners, monitored and surveyed thousands of white-tailed deer and other animals (both wild and domestic) for SARS-CoV-2 to help identify species that may serve as reservoirs or hosts for the virus and better understand exposure, disease susceptibility, and the risks of cross-species transmission.
  • Protected wildlife and public health by distributing more than 8.7 million oral rabies vaccination (ORV) baits to combat raccoon rabies in 14 Eastern States and more than 900,000 ORV baits in Texas to prevent canine rabies from reemerging along the Mexican border.
  • Oversaw 16,000 licensees and registrants, including nearly 3,000 new registrants, ensuring the humane care and treatment of AWA-covered animals. 
  • Conducted over 10,000 AWA site inspections—including more than 900 unannounced inspections at research facilities—to assess the health, care, and treatment of animals covered by the AWA. 
  • With State agricultural officials, performed more than 700 inspections of authorized field trials involving organisms developed using genetic engineering.
  • Issued 15 Regulatory Status Review (RSR) decisions, which replaced the petition process in the legacy regulations to determine whether a plant developed using genetic engineering is subject to regulations as a plant pest. 

You can read about these and other APHIS accomplishments in the 2023 Impact Report.
 

Mike Watson 
APHIS Administrator

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.