USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have released the 2022 – 2026 Joint Agency Strategic Plan for their shared Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program.
The AQI program plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture and the environment by preventing the introduction and spread of potentially devastating plant pests and animal and plant diseases. It protects America's 1.1 trillion-dollar agricultural and food economy, the 2 million farms across the country and the 331 million people living in the United States that rely on agricultural security to survive.
The strategic plan includes three goals:
- Apply risk-based approaches to identify and target high-risk pathways and align resources.
- Enhance program management and infrastructure.
- Strengthen partnerships and enhance outreach efforts with trade entities to advance compliance.
APHIS and CBP work together at the nation's borders and ports of entry to carry out all AQI program activities to intercept and exclude any foreign agricultural pests that could affect U.S. agriculture, trade and commerce. This joint mission is outlined under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and USDA 2003 Memorandum of Agreement.
Under this agreement, APHIS is responsible for developing regulations, policy and procedures for the AQI program; providing risk analysis guidance; setting inspection protocols; inspecting imported propagative material; identifying pests found during APHIS and CBP inspections; training the AQI workforce across both agencies; and managing AQI user fee funds, among other functions. CBP oversees operations at over 300 U.S. ports of entry and manages the daily inspection and targeting of agricultural products, conveyances, international mail and passengers to protect against the entry of exotic pests and diseases.
Between 2018 and 2020, APHIS and CBP cleared an average of 562 million tons of agricultural cargo into the United States per year at over 200 U.S. ports of entry. In addition, during that time they cleared a yearly average of 91.6 million international airline passengers arriving in the country.
At the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport alone, CBP agriculture specialists intercepted 262,237 pounds of prohibited animal products between October–December 2021.
In this joint mission, the strategic plan will guide program activities and set the program's focus for the next five years, driving planning and setting mission priorities.
Source: USDA APHIS, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.