Agricultural Biosecurity Communications and Outreach

Chapter

Abstract

Communications and public outreach is an essential role of a National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in effectively ensuring agricultural biosecurity. The NPPOs of Australia, New Zealand, and USA are bound to a commitment of transparency with their constituency. This commitment extends to communicating with each other and NPPOs of their trading partners.

An NPPO’s ability to conduct plant biosecurity activities depends upon maintaining an effective communications strategy. NPPOs must persuade stakeholders to accept the implementation of protective biosecurity measures that mitigate plant pest risks. This objective depends upon an NPPO being recognized as a scientifically credible authority that serves the public’s interest. An NPPO must clearly and convincingly express the potential consequences of invasive plant pest introductions upon a nation’s food production, natural resource and overall economy.

An NPPO must develop a sustained communications strategy to carry out its plant biosecurity mission. The Internet and social networking are the newest communication tools used to address public concern about plant protection issues. Communication strategies focus on traditional stakeholders (farmers, agricultural industry groups, commodity importers/exporters, state/local governments and affected/threatened community members) and groups that are directly/indirectly impacted or “just interested.”

An NPPO must maintain public trust, ensure transparency, and engage stakeholders in a meaningful way. To achieve this goal, the NPPO’s must make its intentions understood. The NPPO must tailor and clearly communicate messages that routinely involve highly technical scientific and agricultural-specific concepts to a diverse audience with limited scientific, technical or agricultural background.

Critical elements of messaging (identify the target audience, determine the message’s purpose, carefully craft the message, determine how best to deliver the message, and obtain stakeholder feedback) should always be followed to ensure NPPOs communicate biosecurity information clearly, concisely, and effectively. To ensure communications remain consistently successful, NPPO officials must work closely with public relations professionals, NPPO policy and legal advisors, technical experts, and NPPO leadership.

Keywords

Plant Pest American Chestnut Invasive Pest Reactive Communication International Plant Protection Convention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the following APHIS employees for their comments and contributions to this chapter: Karen Ackerman (Trade Director for Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Isles, PPQ PHP, APHIS); Ed Curlett (Director, Public Affairs, LPA, APHIS); Heather Curlett, (LPA-PA, APHIS); Narcy Klag (Deputy Director, Phytosanitary Issues Management, PPQ-PHP, APHIS); Melissa O’Dell (Chief of Staff, PPQ-EDP, APHIS); Abbey Shaffer (Legislative Affairs Team Leader, LPA, APHIS); Mike Swett (Trade Director, PPQ-PHP, APHIS), and Hallie Zimmers (National State Liaison, LPA, APHIS).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside of the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Policy and Program DevelopmentAPHIS, USDARiverdaleUSA
  2. 2.PPQ, USDAWashington, DCUSA

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