As 2018 draws to a close, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released a report of accomplishments, including progress in animal disease traceability, biotechnology, invasive species, trade issues, biosecurity and other regulatory issues.
“The past twelve months have provided many opportunities to fulfill Secretary Perdue’s primary charge to ensure that USDA programs are delivered efficiently, effectively, and with integrity and a focus on customer service,” says Greg Ibach, Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “We have launched new initiatives and reduced a range of duplicative or unnecessary regulatory burdens. We also achieved almost every one of our first-year goals, including the completion of an action plan for animal disease traceability, the development of a conceptual framework for USDA’s biotechnology regulations, and the eradication of the pink bollworm.”
Accomplishments related to livestock include:
- APHIS helped develop the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) Scientist in Training Program, with four universities and eight students enrolled to meet workforce needs for subject matter experts in foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. This supports the facility’s move from Plum Island, NY, to Manhattan, KS.
- APHIS continues to increase the number of animal health certificates issued electronically. The system includes digital signature capabilities and a certificate upload feature, and APHIS is working to expand the number of countries and commodities for which electronic certification is available.
- APHIS and its partners successfully eliminated feral swine from Maryland and New Jersey, and three additional States saw significant reductions in feral swine populations (Iowa, Maine, and Oregon). APHIS removed 1,635 square miles of the ORV (rabies) zone in Alabama and Tennessee, suggesting the successful decrease of raccoon rabies in the previously baited areas. Preventing the westward spread of raccoon rabies saves an estimated $58 million per year and reduces possible exposure to rabies for approximately 20 million head of livestock. APHIS used M-44s to reduce wildlife predation and protected sheep, cattle, and other livestock on more than 6.6 million acres in 11 States.
Read the full report of accomplishments from APHIS.