On May 16, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) celebrated its 40th anniversary. The program activities and responsibilities of APHIS have grown and evolved since the agency’s birth in 1972. But the mission remains the same: serving the public by protecting the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources, according to Gregory Parham, DVM, APHIS administrator. In his blog he writes:
“Over the past 40 years, APHIS has played a vital role in ensuring the health and abundance of this nation’s agriculture. Today, protecting America’s agriculture and natural resources means many things to APHIS. It means ensuring the health of our animal and plant resources both at home and as they move through the global marketplace; guarding against the introduction or reemergence of animal and plant pests and diseases that could limit agricultural production and damage export markets; and monitoring and responding to potential acts of agricultural bioterrorism, as well as to invasive species, disease outbreaks, and conflicts between humans and wildlife.
“It means eliminating trade barriers and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. And it means making sure biotechnology-derived agricultural products are safe for release into the environment. These are just some of the ways in which APHIS’ work benefits Americans every day.
“APHIS strongly believes in working closely with its partners and stakeholders to get results. States, Tribal Nations and industry groups actively work with APHIS to help manage the many issues that affect agriculture. APHIS is also committed to improving and modernizing those business processes and programs most important to our customers by streamlining, accelerating delivery, and using innovative technologies.
“APHIS was created when USDA merged two separate regulatory bureaus into a single agency to handle both plant and animal health. For a more complete history of APHIS, please visit the APHIS website.
“USDA is also celebrating a milestone anniversary this year – its 150th. Back when President Abraham Lincoln established the USDA in 1862, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared with about 2% today. But through USDA’s work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills Lincoln’s vision – touching the lives of every American, every day. By protecting, promoting and expanding the value of American agriculture, APHIS has been a key part of the effort over the past 40 years. As USDA commemorates 150 years of accomplishments, the department is learning from past experiences and looking to the future.”