When Government Gets It Right: USDA-APHIS’ Multi-faceted Role Critical to U.S. Security & Agriculture’s Global Markets

Since it’s inception in 1972, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal APHIS 1972-2016Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been fulfilling a multi-faceted, critical role in facilitating trade of U.S. agricultural products around the world.

APHIS’ role intersects biological sciences and the economy by working alongside stakeholders promoting the health of animal and plant resources and facilitating their movement in the global marketplace all-the-while ensuring abundant agricultural products and services for global consumers.

APHIS’ mission is expansive

APHIS’s mission includes:

  • protecting against the introduction or re-emergence of animal and plant pests and diseases that could harm agricultural production and damage export markets,
  • monitoring and responding to potential acts of agricultural bio-terrorism,
  • containing and controlling diseases of wildlife and livestock, and
  • conflicts between humans, passenger airlines and wildlife,
  • managing and resolving sanitary (animal) and phytosanitary (plant) trade barriers,
  • actively working with trading partners to adopt U.S. standards internationally, and
  • ensuring that biotechnology-derived agricultural products are safe for release in the environment.

Federal Financial Support for Nearly 5 Decades!

APHIS Total Discretionary Spending Past 10 Fiscal Years Declining

APHIS Total Discretionary Spending Past 10 Fiscal Years Declining

As the chart above shows federal lawmakers for the past 5 decades understand the importance of APHIS’ role and have generally supported the programs.  But the chart to the left shows the most recent 10-year trend (FY 2006-2017) is declining. This most recent trend is a bit concerning.  Clearly preventing the establishment of pests and diseases in the U.S. is much more inexpensive than controlling and eradicating them. Thus adequate funding levels are critical each year to the success of APHIS’ biological programs.  APHIS is among a handful of federal government agencies with responsibilities to protect the public, property and industries from the harmful effects of biological pests and diseases.

It’s a Great Bargain!

Unbelievably, APHIS provides protection to U.S. taxpayers and supports U.S. global markets on a budget that’s just under $1 billion/year.  That equates to .006% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product and .027% of the entire federal budget.

That’s a great bargain and another example of government getting it right.


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