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By Julie Aliaga-Milos, USEUCOM Agriculture Advisor


The United States Department of Agriculture restricts or prohibits the entry of many agricultural products, which can carry foreign pests and diseases that harm American agriculture and our environment.


A major pest or disease outbreak could mean higher grocery bills, shortages of certain foods, and devastating losses for our farmers and ranchers.


Soil is strictly controlled under USDA APHIS quarantine regulation 7 CFR 330.300 because it can readily provide a pathway for the introduction of a variety of dangerous organisms into the United States. No foreign soil of any kind is allowed into the U.S. without a permit issued in advance by USDA APHIS.


Did you know? One teaspoon (1 gram) of rich garden soil may contain one billion bacteria, several yards of fungal filaments, several thousand protozoa, and scores of nematodes, earthworms and arthropods. There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the earth.


Soil is the most important agricultural pest pathway and the highest source of agricultural-related frustrations of military cargo in the USA. USDA inspection standards only allow a thin film of road dust on vehicles and equipment arriving at the CONUS final port of entry (TG-31 E2. Inspection Standards).


Because of this strict prohibition, the current DOD carrier contract in place (USC-07) includes the following language under the general requirements: “All cargo entering the U.S. must be free from contaminated soil and pests.”


Washing of vehicles and cargo must comply with all the following: 7 CFR 330.300, and Defense Transportation Regulation (DTR) 4500.9R, Part V, Chapter 502, 505, and Chapter 506. Detailed cleaning and inspection procedures can be found in the Armed forces Pest Management Board Technical Guide No. 31, Contingency Retrograde Wash-downs: Cleaning and Inspection Procedures.


Help us keep American agriculture healthy by following the above guidance for bringing personal and retrograde military vehicles into the United States.