Asian Longhorned Beetle Whether they own pets, enjoy nature or buy fresh produce, Michigan consumers can bank on a team of 77 state employees who work daily to protect those interests. With duties as complex as its name implies, the Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division (PPPMD) of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development protects human and animal health, the environment, and the state’s domestic plant industries. “The fact that we have such a diverse range of responsibilities might be part of the reason people don’t know exactly what we do,” says Gina Alessandri, director of PPPMD. “We’re not a division focusing on one type of inspection for one type of industry. We have a broad range of regulatory responsibilities impacting many facets of agriculture, business and the general public.”
Division staff members validate the safety and nutritional content of pet food and livestock feed. Inspectors review landscape material at nurseries in the state to guarantee consumers purchase plants free of pests and diseases. Another team watches for invasive species and exotic pests, including the potentially devastating Asian long-horned beetle. In fact, the division’s prudent education and monitoring efforts strive for early identification and quick reaction in case of this beetle’s invasion in Michigan’s trees.
Meanwhile, the division continues to certify about 22,000 pesticide applicators to ensure those people know how to properly apply pesticides. Staff members monitor the marketplace to confirm retailers sell safe and registered pesticides to Michigan consumers.
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