(Editor's Note: the following is a press release from the US Department of Agriculture)

Kevin Shea, Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was recently presented two  prestigious awards from state and industry collaborators. The Ambassador’s Circle Award from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is given to those who provide exemplary dedication to advancing NASDA’s mission to grow and enhance American agriculture through policy, partnerships, and public engagement. The Medal of Distinction from the U.S. Animal Health Associations (USAHA) recognizes USAHA members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service, and have made significant contributions to the advancement of USAHA.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by both NASDA and USAHA, but I must acknowledge that it’s really the result of the work APHIS employees do every day.” said Kevin Shea. “We can only be successful in our mission to safeguard American agriculture with  the support of our collaborators. NASDA is truly an indispensable partner and this award is a testament to the joint federal-state work taking place every day across the country on behalf of the nation’s farmers and ranchers. Similarly, USAHA is a critical  ally in our efforts to protect and improve animal health while also ensuring animal industries remain healthy and profitable.” 

In his role as APHIS Administrator, Shea carries out the agency’s multiple missions of protecting the health and value of American agriculture; mitigating the impact of human-wildlife conflicts to protect agriculture, the environment and human health and safety; facilitating the safe trade of agricultural products; ensuring the safe and timely availability of genetically engineered technologies; and administering the Animal Welfare and Horse Protection Acts.  

NASDA, founded in 1916, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. APHIS and NASDA have long had a successful partnership in advancing the mutual aims of the two organizations.  To learn more about NASDA, please visit www.nasda.org

USAHA is a forum for communication and coordination among State and Federal governments, universities, industry, and other concerned groups for consideration of issues of animal health and disease control, animal welfare, food safety and public health. It develops solutions for animal health-related issues based on science, new information and methods, public policy, risk/benefit analysis and the ability to develop a consensus for changing laws, regulations, policies, and programs.  To learn more about USAHA, please visit www.usaha.org.