During the Pandemic, PPQ Innovates to Deliver Its Mission

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Plant Protection Remains Strong

(USDA/ARS) — Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program has been open for business. Our scientists, technical experts, and administrative professionals have continued to effectively fulfill our mission: safeguarding American agriculture and natural resources and facilitating safe trade. To deliver that mission while staying as healthy and safe as possible, employees in all corners of the organization have innovated and adapted.

Every day, PPQ has deployed about 900 to 1,000+ employees to the field. They’ve been conducting pest surveys, inspecting imported plant shipments, rearing sterile insects, and issuing plant health export documents (phytosanitary certificates). Our employees have continued important domestic pest programs to combat exotic fruit flies, spotted lanternfly, potato cyst nematode, and many others.

During the pandemic, PPQ eradicated a serious plant disease outbreak from U.S. greenhouses. We have effectively responded to unsolicited foreign seeds shipped to U.S. residents, a population of Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) in Washington State, and a new detection of Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) in South Carolina. We have also launched our Offshore Greenhouse Certification Program.


Here’s just a smattering of examples of our employees’ innovations and adaptations that helped accomplish these successes. They all show that PPQ employees are driven to safeguard American agriculture and natural resources and facilitate safe trade—while protecting the health of our employees and the many people we serve.

The PPQ Ready Initiative
Imported Shipment Adaptations
Arizona Navel Orangeworm Rearing Facility Innovations
Miami Plant Inspection Station Innovations
Puerto Rico Field Operations Innovations
Texas Field Operations Innovations
Brighton Michigan Biocontrol Rearing Facility Innovations
Florida Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection Program Innovations

Source: USDA/Agricultural Research Service