Each year, I have the honor of sharing with you APHIS’ achievements as highlighted in our annual Impact Report. This year, I am particularly proud of our work, both on the frontlines of protecting and promoting American agriculture and the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we entered the second year of the pandemic, APHIS employees played a key role in COVID-19 vaccination efforts. From January to June, our Agency deployed 465 employees across the Nation to help administer approximately 400,000 vaccines and support efforts to deliver hundreds of thousands more. Employees who didn’t deploy took on extra work to make sure APHIS’ essential duties continued and our stakeholders received the services they rely on.
At the same time that the pandemic challenged us, it also gave us a vital inroad to advancing One Health. Through the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress allocated $300 million to APHIS to strengthen our One Health capacity and develop an early warning system for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This initiative establishes APHIS as a critical part of preventing future pandemics and builds upon our long history of One Health work.
As APHIS celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022, I first want to recognize the exciting achievements we had in 2021. On behalf of our more than 8,600 employees, working in all 50 States, 4 territories, and 27 countries, I am pleased to share with you our 2021 Impact Report. Among the highlights:
- Eradicating the giant African snail from Florida, protecting the State’s multibillion-dollar nursery industry and many of its valuable fruit and vegetable crops
- Establishing an African swine fever (ASF) protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; testing over 4,500 samples for ASF (with all results negative); beginning a major ASF public outreach campaign; conducting ASF Action Week to deliver critical information to producers nationwide
- Developing a strategic framework to strengthen One Health capacity and improve our Nation’s ability to prevent, detect, report, and respond to SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in animals, including potential emerging variants
- Providing confirmatory testing services for animal samples for SARS-CoV-2—testing over 1,000 animals, with 235 confirmed positive across 13 species—and maintaining further support at 32 National Animal Health Laboratory Network labs, including 22 with capability to test human samples
Those accomplishments are just the beginning of what you’ll find in our 2021 Impact Report. We also:
- Facilitated new markets for a wide range of products, including cattle, goats, and sheep to Moldova (worth an estimated $3 million per year); aquatic animals to Azerbaijan and Georgia (estimated value of $1.5 million); swine to Bosnia and Herzegovina (worth $500,000); bovine genetics to Uzbekistan (worth $500,000); and cattle and bovine genetics to the Gambia (worth $500,000)
- Cleared 30,372 imported shipments containing 2.17 billion plant units and over 755,993 kilograms of seeds of woody plants and prevented entry of 1,974 quarantine-significant pests
- Helped 23,461 producers protect livestock from predation through a combination of techniques and tools
- Oversaw 11,785 licensees and registrants to ensure the humane care and treatment of animals covered by the Animal Welfare Act and inspected 541 horses at 17 shows and exhibitions
- Processed over 750 authorizations in 48 States for the movement or field testing of organisms developed using genetic engineering
You can read about these and other APHIS accomplishments in the 2021 Impact Report.