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1912: Agriculture Safeguards Come to the Border

Quarantine inspection station, El Paso, Texas, 1937.

Quarantine inspection station, El Paso, Texas, 1937.


The Plant Quarantine Act of 1912 authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to inspect agricultural products, to organize border quarantines and to restrict entry of infested agricultural goods.

In 1953, USDA charged the Agricultural Research Service with administering plant quarantine functions until 1970 when Plant Protection and Quarantine was established.

Agricultural inspection services remained part of  Plant Protection and Quarantine until March 1, 2003. On that date, approximately 2,500 employees of the Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection force became part of CBP.

Last modified: 
August 1, 2016