Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS)  Program

The Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) is a combined effort by Clemson University's Department of Plant Industry (DPI) and the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) to conduct surveillance, detection and monitoring of pests of agricultural crops and natural plant resources. Survey targets include plant diseases, insects, weeds, nematodes, and other invertebrate organisms.

The primary goal of the CAPS program is the early detection of exotic invasive pests. Control and eradication measures work best if a pest is caught before it becomes well established. CAPS maintains a comprehensive list of target species that are potential threats. This list contains pests that have limited distribution as well as pests not yet found in the United States. The goal is to be proactive in preparing for plant health emergencies and to help strengthen off-shore pest-exclusion programs.

CAPS surveyors collect data on specific target pests at the state level and this information is assimilated into a national database maintained by the National Agricultural Plant Information System (NAPIS). Plant health officials use this information to make policy decisions and evaluate market-access bids for US exports. This data also helps to justify quarantine measures to exclude potentially destructive foreign pests.

The CAPS program is committed to protecting and promoting South Carolina and US Agriculture by facilitating the free flow of trade. CAPS survey data is used to support the development and expansion of export markets by identifying pest-free regions which can help allow for the continuation of exports even if a pest is found within a state or the country.

The CAPS program serves the public and private sectors by improving the quality and availability of pest information. The existing CAPS networks are committed to expanding utilization of pest data in support of an environmentally sound, competitive, and profitable American agricultural system.

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