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Posts tagged: National Plant Diagnostic Network

Real Superheroes Wear Lab Coats

Carrie Harmon at University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science lab

Carrie Harmon works at University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science labs with the National Plant Diagnostic Network. Photo courtesy of Ray Hammerschmidt

With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the National Plant Diagnostic Network has grown into an internationally respected consortium of plant diagnostic laboratories dedicated to enhancing agricultural security by protecting health and productivity of plants in agricultural and natural ecosystems.

Dr. Ray Hammerschmidt, President of the National Plant Diagnostic Network, discusses this partnership and the benefits all Americans receive in the following guest post:

Superheroes really do work among us. But, instead of capes and cowls and ice palaces and caves, they are often found in a lab at a public university or state agriculture department, wearing lab coats and working over a microscope.

These men and women work daily to protect our communities and crops from dangerous pests and pathogens.  They are plant pathologists, entomologists, nematologists, weed scientists, and other plant scientists who work diligently to mitigate the impact of endemic, emerging, and exotic pathogens and pests that attack agricultural, forest, and landscape plants in the United States. Read more »

Defense of our Nation’s Food Supply – What is USDA Doing and What Can You do to Help?

National Preparedness Month is a good opportunity to reflect on progress towards ensuring the security of our Nation’s food supply.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers defense of the food and agriculture sector critical– all the way from farm to fork. Some animal or plant diseases could have drastic consequences on our economy – yet another reason it’s important that we continue our efforts to improve food and agricultural emergency preparedness and response.

You probably are familiar with many of the USDA agencies whose animal, plant and or food inspection programs have touched your life at some point whether traveling or simply buying meat or poultry sold in grocery stores.

For example, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) enhance agricultural security through numerous programs.  These programs range from inspecting native and foreign agricultural products, to evaluating food system vulnerabilities,  to maintaining laboratory networks that can rapidly identify diseases and pests.  To illustrate, some of our efforts over the last year include: Read more »