San Diego - This week, members of the Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Partnership Council from throughout the country met in San Diego to discuss issues related to protecting U.S. agriculture from harm.
During this eighth meeting of the council, the group signed a joint port/area pest risk committee charter and addendum. The document instructs the council's risk committees to focus on: risk management; the implementation of special operations; analysis of seasonal trends; identifying and implementing joint pest exclusion strategies; and, continued outreach to our agriculture stakeholders.
The council includes many government officials responsible for protecting the nations' food supply and agricultural sectors of the economy, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Field Operations, Thomas Winkowski.
CBP's Office of Field Operations includes oversight of the agriculture specialists that work at U.S. ports of entry, inspecting agriculture items brought in commercially and by the traveling public to ensure that no pests, harmful insects, or diseases enter the U.S.
The conference in San Diego took place Wednesday, April 21 and Thursday, April 22, and included tours of the San Ysidro port of entry as well as the Otay Mesa cargo facility.
Members of the council also include the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine program, Rebecca Bech, officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, and other federal and state officials.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.