This Valentine’s Day, as you gift your loved ones with stunning bouquets, take a moment to appreciate the journey these flowers have made, all the way from South America to your doorstep. Spread the love and enjoy the beauty that blooms in each petal.
Protecting Our Borders: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Takes Action
Every year, the United States faces a huge challenge regarding the importation of flowers. While these beautiful bundles bring joy to countless Americans, they also have the potential to introduce harmful pests and diseases into our country. Thankfully, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists have been tirelessly working at airports to ensure that these risks are minimized.
Thorough Inspections Safeguard Our Economy and Environment
At the forefront of this battle is Danny Alonso, the port director at an airport. He explains that the role of agriculture specialists is crucial in keeping our floral imports free from dangerous pests and foreign animal diseases. These threats alone have caused staggering losses of approximately $120 billion to our economy and environment every year.
Overwhelming Numbers, Dedication, and Vigilance
The scale of this operation is mind-boggling. According to Alonso, as of February 8, the agriculture specialists had already processed an astounding 832 million stems of cut flowers. Additionally, they meticulously inspected 75,000 cut flower sample boxes and successfully intercepted 1,100 plant pests. Comparing it to the same period last year, specialists had managed to process over 861 million stems of flowers and prevent 932 plant pest interceptions. It is no wonder that Alonso describes this time as one of the most demanding periods for their staff.
Looking Ahead: Preparing for Mother’s Day
Once the rush of Valentine’s Day subsides, those involved in this critical work can finally catch their breath momentarily. However, there is no rest for the weary, as preparations for the next significant flower day in the United States commence. Mother’s Day in May brings its own challenges and demands attention to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our nation.
In conclusion, the efforts undertaken by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists should not be underestimated. Their diligence in inspecting and preventing the introduction of harmful pests and diseases plays a vital role in protecting both our economy and environment.