The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is a multi-faceted agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues.

To protect agricultural health, APHIS is on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working to defend America's animal and plant resources from agricultural pests and diseases. For example, if the Mediterranean fruit fly and Asian longhorned beetle, two major agricultural pests, were left unchecked, they would result in several billions of dollars in production and marketing losses annually. Similarly, if foot-and-mouth disease or highly pathogenic avian influenza were to become established in the United States, foreign-trading partners could invoke trade restrictions and producers would suffer devastating losses.

In the event that a pest or disease of concern is detected, APHIS implements emergency protocols and partners with affected states to quickly manage or eradicate the outbreak. This aggressive approach has enabled APHIS to successfully prevent and respond to potential pest and disease threats to U.S. agriculture.

To promote the health of U.S. agriculture in the international trade arena, APHIS develops and advances science-based standards with trading partners to ensure America's agricultural exports, worth more than $50 billion annually, are protected from unjustified restrictions.

In response to needs expressed by the American people and Congress, APHIS' mission has expanded over the years to include such issues as wildlife damage and disease management; regulation of genetically engineered crops and animal welfare; and protection of public health and safety as well as natural resources that are vulnerable to invasive pests and pathogens. While carrying out its diverse protection responsibilities, APHIS makes every effort to address the needs of all stakeholders involved in the U.S. agricultural sector.

The duties of APHIS also include protecting our pets. APHIS is in charge of safety and disease control in the shadow of the growing popularity of traveling with pets. Under that responsibility, one of APHIS’ tasks is to define what is and is not a pet. Pets include: dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, hedgehog/tenrecs, reptiles, amphibians and pet birds. 

Not all birds can be classified as a pet. Multiple agencies, including USDA APHIS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), may be involved in pet bird travel. It is critical that your pet bird meets all applicable requirements before travel.

Depending on the type of bird you have, APHIS regulations may vary. Due to the possibility of carrying or transmitting certain diseases to the U.S. poultry industry, some pet birds are regulated as poultry and must meet different requirements. 

Birds regulated as poultry include: chickens, doves, ducks, geese, grouse, guinea fowl, partridges, pea fowl, pheasants, pigeons, quail, swans and turkeys.

If your pet bird is listed above, it does not qualify for travel as a pet bird. You must meet specific import or export requirements for poultry. Visit the APHIS Import and Export website for live animals to learn more.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 26--VQA Steer Take Up.

Aug. 28--VQA Heifer Take Up.

Sept. 2--Russell County Fair.

Sept. 3--Smyth County Safety Grant Applications Available.

Sept. 8-13--National County Ag Agents’ Meeting, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Sept. 9--Washington County Fair.

Sept. 26-29--Chilhowie Apple Festival.

Sept. 27-Oct. 6--State Fair of Virginia.

Oct. 2--Pesticide Disposal (Commercial and Homeowners), Supergro, Seven Mile Ford.

Oct. 4--Deadline to Consign Calves for the Nov. 6 VQA Sale.

Oct. 5--Hokie Bugfest, Squires Student Center, Blacksburg.

Oct. 9--Smyth County AG Day for 4th Graders, WL Hanger, Chilhowie.

Nov. 1--Deadline to Consign Calves to December VQA Sale.

Nov. 6--VQA Sale, Tri State Livestock Market, 7 p.m.

Nov. 11--VQA Steer Take Up, Tri-State.                

Nov. 13--VQA Heifer Take Up, Tri State.

Nov. 18--Smyth County Farm Management/Private Pesticide Recertification Meeting, 6 p.m, Farm Bureau Building in Marion.

Nov. 20--Pesticide Recertification, 8:30 a.m., Smyth County Extension Office.

Dec. 4--VQA Sale, Tri State Livestock Market, 7 p.m.

Dr. Andy Overbay is Smyth County’s agriculture and natural resources extension agent.


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Dr. Andy Overbay is Smyth County’s agriculture and natural resources extension agent.

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