USDAÆs Miami plant inspection station opens
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service this week opened a new plant inspection station in Miami.
'The new Miami facility will better enable us to protect and safeguard Florida's high-value agriculture industry and precious natural environment,' said Edward Avalos, USDA's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, in a statement.
The $25 million facility was built to meet the increasing demand for plant inspection and processing services, USDA said.
According to the department, the Miami facility is the busiest plant inspection station in the country, handling 78.5 percent of all imported plant material imported 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, USDA said.
The square footage of the new Miami facility is more than double the size of the previous plant inspection station. The update will allow 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, USDA said.
APHIS's plant protection and quarantine (PPQ) program inspects plants that are mailed, carried and shipped into the United States by brokers, travelers and nursery owners. Agency specialists inspect the plants at one of 17 plant inspection stations, including the Miami facility, in ports of entry throughout the country including major international airports and seaports and key crossings along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Officials also review all related 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).