The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the opening of a new plant inspection station in Miami.
The new $25 million, state-of-the-art facility was built to meet the increasing demand for plant inspection and processing services. The Miami facility is the busiest plant inspection station in the U.S., handling 78.5% of all propagative plant material imported into the U.S. in 2009. The original facility was no longer able to handle the volume of plant materials received at the Miami port on a daily basis. The square footage of the new facility is more than double the size of the previous plant inspection station. The update will enable APHIS to better meet the needs of importers and protect Florida’s $87 billion agriculture industry and natural resources from foreign plant pests and diseases.
APHIS is charged with safeguarding agricultural and natural resources from the risks associated with the entry, establishment and spread of exotic plant pests, diseases, pathogens, and noxious weeds. To carry out this mission, APHIS’ plant protection and quarantine (PPQ) program inspects plants that are mailed, carried and shipped into the U.S. by brokers, travelers and nursery owners. APHIS’ plant health safeguarding specialists inspect the plants at one of 17 plant inspection stations, including the Miami facility, at ports of entry throughout the country including major international airports and seaports and key crossings along the U.S.-Mexican border.
At the plant inspection stations, PPQ officials inspect shipments of plants, cuttings and seeds. Officials also review all associated permits and documentation to ensure that these shipments comply with import regulations and that any pest or disease risks are sufficiently mitigated. PPQ also enforces the rules and regulations that apply to the import and export of plant species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Source: USDA-APHIS news release