United Nations Declares 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health

The United Nations has declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health to bring worldwide attention to invasive pests. The pests destroy up to 40 percent of the world’s food crops and cause $220 billion in trade losses each year, according to the United Nations. They are calling on stakeholders to work together to protect plants against the introduction and spread of invasive pests. The U.S. National Plant Protection Organization—the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine—is leading the effort in the United States. Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach, says “we’re urging everyone to take this issue seriously and to do their part.” According to USDA, everyone can help avoid the devastating impact of pests and diseases on agriculture, livelihoods, and food security. Tips to do so include reporting unusual signs of pests, refrain from moving firewood, and declaring food or ag items at U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoints when returning from international travel.