AGRICULTURAL PESTS AND DISEASES
Under the authority of the Plant Protection Act and the Animal Health Protection Act, USDA
guards against the entry of foreign pests and diseases by monitoring plant and animal health
throughout the world and setting effective agricultural import policies. USDA and the
Department of Homeland Security enforce these policies cooperatively. Additionally, USDA
designs and conducts offshore pre-clearance programs to help mitigate the risk posed by foreign
agricultural products before their arrival at U.S. ports of entry.
USDA works cooperatively with the States on programs to identify and survey for pests and
diseases of concern and conduct control and eradication programs. Additionally, USDA
monitors and regulates interstate shipment of plants, animals, and related materials to prevent the
spread of pests and diseases to previously unaffected areas. Working in concert with local and
State officials, USDA provides on-the-ground support in responding to pest or disease outbreaks.
A few examples of pest and disease activities include:
USDA has worked to prevent the introduction of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) into
the United States and ensure preparedness in the event of an outbreak. USDA is stockpiling
additional vaccines, enhancing surveillance and diagnostic activities, increasing smuggling
intervention and trade compliance activities, conducting investigations, carrying out research and
development, administering planning and preparedness training, and conducting various
activities internationally to combat the virus.
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
USDA is strongly committed to protecting U.S. animal and public health from bovine
spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. For more than 15 years, the Federal Government has had
in place a number of interlocking safeguards to protect animal and public health in the United
States from this disease. This approach is science based and has been update