A trip to your local plant nursery or florist is a lot like taking a trip around the world. You can find anything from boxwood from England, to roses from Colombia, to tulip bulbs from the Netherlands—the list goes on and on!
Just as a myriad of plants, seeds and cut flowers come to us from around the world, so can plant pests and diseases. Non-native pests and diseases can hitchhike into the United States on shipments of plants and escape into the natural environment. If these pests are introduced here, they can devastate home gardens and landscapes, nurseries, farms, and natural areas.
In today’s booming global marketplace, how can we prevent invaders from wreaking havoc in the United States? For USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the fight against invasive plant pests and disease begins on the front line—when plants enter the United States.
APHIS operates special facilities, called plant inspection stations, at major international airports, seaports, and crossings along the U.S.-Mexican border. At the plant inspection station, APHIS ensures that plants coming into the United States are not also bringing in exotic plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds.
Today, APHIS is excited to announce the grand opening of a new, state-of-the-art plant inspection station facility in Miami, Florida.
Miami is the busiest plant inspection station in the country—in 2009, 78.5 percent of all propagative plant material (seeds or plant parts used for reproduction) imported into the United States came through Miami. As a result, this facility is a significant weapon in APHIS’ arsenal against invasive plant pests and diseases.
The new and improved facility will meet increasing demand for plant inspection and processing services. The update will enable APHIS to better meet the needs of importers and help protect American agriculture and natural resources from foreign plant pests and diseases.
And don’t forget, you play a vital role in detecting and fighting invasive pests and diseases as well. Learn more about what you can do to protect America’s agricultural and natural resources from invasive plant pests at www.aphis.usda.gov.