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Homeland Security and the CAPS program

The Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) is a combined effort by Federal and State agricultural organizations to conduct surveillance, detection, and monitoring of agricultural crop pests and biological control agents. Survey targets include weeds, plant diseases, insects, nematodes, and other invertebrate organisms. In Tennessee, the CAPS program is coordinated from within the University of Tennessee Entomology and Plant Pathology Department.

Components of the CAPS program include:


  • survey, detection, and identification activities in the field and the laboratory;
  • State level databases;
  • a National database - the National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS); and
  • electronic information exchange systems.

The current CAPS program goals include:


  • Detect exotic pests before they can become well established
  • Facilitate the export of U.S. Agricultural products
  • Collect and manage survey data from PPQ cooperative programs

Species of Current Interest:


Three Legally Mandated Responsibilities of PPQ are:


  • To protect American agriculture from foreign plant pest introduction and establishment,
  • to facilitate export of American agricultural products, and
  • to control or eradicate pests as authorized by legislation and regulation.

The CAPS Program assists PPQ in meeting these responsibilities by providing means for detection, documentation, and rapid dissemination of information on plant pests and biocontrol agents in the U.S. CAPS 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. Most of these are coordinated at the state level by the Land Grant Universities, such as the University of Tennessee, and the state departments of agriculture.

APHIS/PPQ Links


  • Agricultural Bioterrorism
  • Crop Biosecurity
  • Pest Detection and Management Programs
  • Invasive Species and Pest Management
  • Noxious Weeds
  • Invasive and Exotic Species of North America
  • Federal Noxious Weeds List
  • Agent and Toxin List
  • Contact This Department

    Elizabeth Long, Extension Specialist
    2505 E. J. Chapman Drive
    370 Plant Biotechnology Bldg.
    Knoxville, TN 37996-4560
    Phone: 865-974-7135
    Fax: 865-974-8868
    Email: ealong@utk.edu