United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Plant Protection Act (PPA)

Our team has created this page to enhance the pursuit of the USDA's PPA program. If you have questions just reach out to our research and proposal development team.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Act grant opportunities (funded through the Plant Protection Act, Section 7721) are a series of grants offered by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support projects that enhance the nation's infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, safeguard the nursery production system, and to respond to plant pest emergencies.

The USDA PPA grant opportunities provide funding for a wide range of projects, including:

  • Pest detection and surveillance
  • Identification of plant pests and diseases
  • Threat mitigation
  • Safeguarding the nursery production system
  • Responding to plant pest emergencies

Each proposal must fall into one of six goal areas with specific guidance linked below where appropriate:

  • Goal 1A – Plant Pest and Disease Analysis
  • Goal 1S – Plant Pest and Disease Survey (see Appendix A)
  • Goal 2 – Domestic Inspection
  • Goal 3 – Increase Identification Capacity and Strengthen Pest Detection Technology (see Appendix B)
  • Goal 4 – Safeguard Nursey Production (see Appendix C)
  • Goal 5 – Outreach and Education (see Appendix D)
  • Goal 6 – Enhance Mitigation and Rapid Response

Check out the PPA infographic here for a quick summary of each goal area.

Under our recommended timeline, within the accordions, you’ll find detailed information regarding each goal area. Be sure to review the full FY24 PPA 7721 Implementation Plan in addition to the below resources.

  • Goal Areas Overview

      Goal 1A - Plant Pest and Disease Analysis

      Goal 1A strives to enhance the analysis of available data to make informed decisions efficiently and effectively. This includes development of new and innovative data analytic approaches or algorithms to improve predictive modeling and surveillance efficiency for exotic invasive pest species.

      • Goal 1A Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Identify risk factors for high-risk pests and high-risk pathways through analysis of available data.
          Objective 2: Develop risk-based models and decision-support algorithms, approaches, or tools to reduce the entry, establishment, and spread of plant pest species.
          Strategy 1: Better define biotic and abiotic variables, detect patterns, and test hypotheses that improve the understanding of where an exotic invasive pest may enter, establish, and spread.
          Strategy 2: Development or application of decision support algorithms, approaches, or tools integrating data from various sources for prioritizing areas for surveillance.
          Strategy 3: Develop and implement data-sharing protocols to incorporate PPQ, multi-agency, and commercial data for analysis.
          Strategy 4: Conduct evaluation of analytical and resource allocation techniques to optimize decision making.
          Strategy 5: Identify and use appropriate offshore, port of entry, and domestic datasets for analyzing pathways for risk of pest introductions.

      Goal1S - Plant Pest and Disease Survey

      This goal provides funding to enhance APHIS’ pest surveillance mission and ensure the early detection of exotic plant pests. The value of early pest detection is in reducing losses from widespread pest damage and/or the cost of mitigation. APHIS’ plant pest surveillance mission offers an essential safeguard that complements offshore preclearance and port of entry activities. The purpose of this goal area is to ensure there is alignment between Goal 1S surveys and other pest surveillance surveys (for example, the CAPS Program) or surveys supporting domestic program pests. This is necessary as APHIS’ pest surveillance mission continues to stress surveys that target multiple pests based on commodities, taxa, environments and habitats, industries and businesses, and the continuum along pest introduction pathways. Goal 1S seeks an open dialogue with all stakeholders, through the suggestion process, to improve APHIS’ plant pest surveillance mission.

      • Goal 1S Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Conduct national priority pest surveys in support of all agriculture crops, specialty crops, trade, and identified program surveys listed below under ‘Survey Strategy’.
          Objective 2: Target multiple high-risk pathways for exotic pest introduction across the United States.
          Strategy 1: Conduct national priority surveys that target multiple pathways for exotic pest introductions across the United States, with broad participation by states, universities, andvtribes.
          Strategy 2: Support PPQ’s pest program surveys to increase knowledge about the distribution of pests.

      Goal 2 – Domestic Inspection

      This goal strives to target domestic inspection activities at vulnerable points in the safeguarding continuum that result from the movement of products and commodities potentially carrying pests of regulatory significance.

      • Goal 2 Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Promote and expand inland inspections of containers and mail facilities, where possible.
          Objective 2: Expand the use of canine teams for domestic inspection activities (excluding domestic survey/detection activities).
          Objective 3: Promote increased levels of inspection for regulated articles for interstate movement.
          Strategy 1: Follow-up inspections conducted by cooperating regulatory agencies in states receiving international and interstate regulated cargos that present a risk of moving plant pests.
          Strategy 2: Emphasize new capacities of agriculture detection canine teams in support of destination inspections
          Strategy 3: Emphasize inspection activities for regulated articles moving internationally or interstate.
          Strategy 4: Develop the analytical capacity to identify/design workable programs and the operational mechanisms to effectively implement them, including processes for inspection.

      Goal 3 – Increase Identification Capacity and Strengthen Pest Detection Technology

      This goal strives to increase the capacity for identifying and detecting plant pests of regulatory significance by improving survey technologies, providing taxonomic expertise, developing diagnostics, and producing training resources. Suggestions can target plant pests in any taxonomic group, including, but not limited to, arthropods, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, phytoplasmas, viroids, and viruses. Submissions to this goal should be finite, short to medium term projects that enhance the safeguarding of U.S. agriculture and/or facilitate trade. Multi-year suggestions must have discrete deliverables for each year of the project, and suggesters should be aware that receiving funding for a multi-year suggestion does not guarantee or imply funding for subsequent years. This goal also supports regional screening centers at universities, state departments of agriculture, and other institutions that provide preliminary identification support for plant pest surveys.

      • Goal 3 Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Improve all aspects of early detection technologies and resources.
          Objective 2: Develop or improve diagnostic tests and identification tools and methods for species in a wide range of taxonomic groups containing high priority pests.
          Strategy 1: Develop and improve traps and lures.
          Strategy 2: Identify the taxonomic expertise and capacity to augment preliminary identification needs for plant pest surveys and provide cost-efficient identification centers that accept and process survey samples from other states.
          Strategy 3: Develop, validate, transfer, and increase the deployment of appropriate diagnostic tools, including nucleic acid-based tools or other technologies, to detect and/or identify specific plant pests.
          Strategy 4: Enhance the expertise and capacity to identify a greater variety of plant pests.

      Goal 4 – Safeguard Nursey Production

      This goal strives to develop management strategies for the mitigation of pests and pathogens in nursery settings and encourages the development and harmonization of standards to support audit-based nursery certification initiatives.

      • Goal 4 Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Develop science-based best management practices and risk mitigation practices to exclude, contain, and control regulated pests from the nursery production chain.
          Objective 2: To develop and nationally harmonize audit-based nursery certification programs, including the harmonization of different certification programs (both inter- and intra-state), audit and inspection training for cooperators, and program launching.
          Strategy 1: Initiatives that explore the development of best management practices (BMPs), integrated pest management, and other risk mitigations to exclude, contain, and control regulated plant pests from the nursery production system.
          Strategy 2: Initiatives that directly address and inform the process of inspecting, auditing, and certifying the production of nursery stock.

      Goal 5 – Outreach and Education

      This goal seeks to increase awareness and knowledge to prevent the introduction or spread of high consequence pests into and throughout the United States, through high-risk pathways, particularly in high-risk areas.

      • Goal 5 Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Provide education and encourage behaviors that enhance safeguarding.
          Objective 2: Increase the number of people actively looking for and reporting high-consequence pests at vulnerable points along high-risk pathways.
          Objective 3: Increase public acceptance and support of APHIS high priority plant pest and disease eradication programs and increase acceptance of control efforts.
          Strategy 1: Provide education and information to key groups.
          Strategy 2: Apply best practices and approaches that have proven successful, or incorporate promising innovation in thinking or approach, to increase public acceptance and support of APHIS high priority plant pest and disease eradication and control efforts.
          Strategy 3: Develop and implement volunteer programs to support pest detection.

      Goal 6 – Enhance Mitigation and Rapid Response

      This goal strives to develop pest mitigation tools and technologies to be used during pest response activities to reduce potential adverse impacts and further spread of detected pests of regulatory significance and/or of economic or environmental concern. Goal 6 supports key areas of mitigation and response; however, this is not a goal for long-term, basic research and development projects; multi-year projects may be considered based on objectives and must be submitted annually for consideration of continued funding. Projects with a significant survey component must justify how the survey relates and is necessary to the mitigation activity.

      • Goal 6 Objectives & Strategies

          Objective 1: Develop or adapt new control technologies, tools, and treatments for use in plant health emergencies.
          Objective 2: Improve the knowledge base, response options, and capabilities prior to the onset of a plant health emergency.
          Objective 3: Support the use of existing tools and initial response protocols for the overarching goals of containment, control, and/or eradication of plant pests.
          Strategy 1: Develop, promote, and implement new control technologies, tools, and treatments for use in plant health emergencies and/or established pest programs.
          Strategy 2: Enhance preparation for a plant pest emergency by improving the knowledge base, response options, and capabilities prior to the onset of a plant pest emergency.
          Strategy 3: Provide initial or short-term funding to quickly implement programs that employ existing tools and initial response protocols for the overarching goals of containment, control, or eradication immediately following the development of a plant health emergency.
          Strategy 4: Provide technical assistance prior to, during, and immediately following the development of a plant health emergency through the development of New Pest Response Guidelines (NPRG) and Rapid Response Action Plans for the potential introduction of exotic plant pests.

  • FAQs

    How much funding is available?
    There is approximately $63 million available for PPDMDPP projects, and at least $7.5 million available for the NCPN. APHIS will set aside up to $4 million in Plant Protection Act Section 7721 funding to support Tribes, Tribal organizations and universities as well as other minority-affiliated organizations.

    Are there any limitations on how PPA 7721 funding can be used?
    To ensure consistent and proper use per Congressional intent, funding should not be used to:
    • purchase vehicles (lease, vehicle fuel, and routine maintenance are allowed),
    • build new structures,
    • pay the salaries of permanent Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ) staff,
    • develop or maintain IT applications and systems that require long-term funding, are duplicative of other PPQ initiatives or PPA 7721 funded projects, or contain personally identified information.

    Can PPA funding cover tuition?
    Yes, but it must be proportionate to the time spent on the project. For example, a student spending 20% of their time on the project should only receive 20% of the tuition through this funding. PPA is annual funding and therefore, funding is not guaranteed beyond the one-year funding cycle.

    What should be included in a suggestion?
    In addition to basic information about the suggestion (suggestion title, budget estimate, contact information, etc.), suggesters should provide the following:
    • Description of the suggestion’s alignment with PPA 7721 goals, objectives, and strategies, defined in the FY 24 PPA 7721 Implementation Plan, which is posted on the APHIS PPA 7721 website.
    • Potential or expected impact and deliverables
    • Major milestones
    • Proposed technical approach
    • Roles and responsibilities, as well as budget allocations of any cooperators who will receive funding or are participating in suggestion activities o Note: Federal entities are also required to include the percentage of the total budget that would be provided to each non-Federal cooperator or participating institution
    • Relevant prior experience and accomplishments to date (specifically when reapplying for suggestions previously funded through PPA 7721).

    Suggesters are strongly encouraged to discuss suggestions with appropriate PPQ Program Managers or State Plant Health Officials and all cooperators prior to submitting suggestions.
    PPA 7721 suggestions should be designed for a one-year project, with clear deliverables to be achieved within that timeframe.

    How will the review process work and what criteria will be used to evaluate suggestions?
    Suggestions will be reviewed by Goal Teams that encompass representatives from APHIS, the National Plant Board, other federal agencies, tribal nation representatives, the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, and the research community.

    All PPA 7721 Goal Teams will evaluate the strategic alignment, impact, feasibility, past performance, use of best practices, and innovation of each suggestion. The Goal Teams will work to ensure that the recommended Spending Plan addresses critical needs and opportunities to strengthen prevention, detection, and/or mitigation efforts.

    How and when will I know if my suggestion was funded?
    PPA 7721 funding decisions are announced through the annual Spending Plan, released tentatively no earlier than March. The PPA 7721 Spending Plan will be published on the PPA 7721 website, and the broadcast will come through the APHIS Stakeholder Registry. Ensure you are signed up for the PPA 7721 Topics (found under Plant Health Information > Plant Health in the US (Domestic) > Pest Management > Plant Protection Act Section 7721 Information) to receive notifications regarding the Open Period and Spending Plan announcements.

    Is it possible to get feedback on my suggestion if it wasn’t included in the Spending Plan?
    Yes. To obtain feedback on a suggestion that wasn’t included in the PPA 7721 Spending Plan, send an email to the PPA 7721 Team at ppa-projects@usda.gov. Include the title of your suggestion, goal area, and the suggestion number in your request. Please allow up to 7 business days for a response to these requests.