USDA system to help assess cargo risk

The Agriculture Department has awarded a contract to SI International Inc. to create a targeting system that enables employees to view agricultural cargo shipments and make risk assessments on them.

The contract, announced today, has a potential value of $10.7 million if exercised over a five-year period.

SI International will assist the Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health and Inspections Services plant protection and quarantine program in developing the automated targeting system.

The Web-based system uses a data link to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's automated targeting system, enabling USDA employees to see cargo shipments and data to make risk-based decisions on the hold or release of cargo.

The agriculture quarantine inspections affect all major sea, air, land and internal ports of entry into the country. The automated targeting system also is critical to homeland security.

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