APHIS Proposes Changes to the Protocol for Interstate Movement of Citrus Nursery Stock from Quarantined Areas

APHIS is proposing to make several changes to the protocol for interstate movement of citrus nursery stock. This protocol, originally published in 2013, contains standards and requirements that a nursery must meet in order to move citrus nursery stock interstate from areas quarantined for citrus canker, citrus greening, and/or Asian citrus psyllid. By meeting the standards and requirements, a nursery would be able to obtain a certificate or limited permit for the interstate movement of citrus nursery stock from areas quarantined for citrus canker, citrus greening, or ACP.

A summary of APHIS’ proposed changes is provided below. The full text of the revised protocol is available on APHIS’ Citrus Health Response Program Web site. APHIS will accept comments on the revised protocol through November 10, 2017. Please email your comments to PPQ.Citrus.Health@aphis.usda.gov.

Summary of Proposed Changes

  • Clean Stock Program Requirement: Under the current protocol, all citrus nursery stock produced for interstate movement must originate from an APHIS-approved State-certified clean stock program. Clean stock programs are required, among other things, to use source material that has undergone therapy, undergo testing and inspection with negative results for pests of quarantine significance, and grow and keep plants inside the facility until the stock is sold. These requirements prohibit interstate movement of any citrus nursery stock from States that do not have a clean stock program. We are proposing to revise the requirement to allow citrus nursery stock from facilities in those States that do not have a clean stock program to move interstate to non-citrus producing States, subject to all other requirements in the protocol document. This change would allow low-risk movement of material while limiting phytosanitary risk to citrus producing states.
  • Keeping Plant Material in the Same Facility for its Entire Life: We are proposing to remove the requirement that material must remain in the same facility for its entire life in order to be eligible for movement. Instead, citrus nursery stock would be eligible for movement between approved structures, provided those structures are within a contiguous quarantine area and safeguards are in place during movement.
  • Citrus Greening Testing Requirements: Currently, all production plants must be sampled and tested for citrus greening every 6 months by an APHIS-certified specialist at an APHIS-approved laboratory using an APHIS-approved citrus greening protocol. Citrus nursery stock for interstate movement must also undergo at least 2 sampling and testing cycles with negative results. We are proposing to change testing movement requirements based on the type of material and the risk it poses. In the revised protocol, we propose shifting the testing requirements to plants earlier in the production process and relieving the burden on the downstream production plants. Under the revised protocol, mother/scion trees would be tested once per calendar year at an interval no less than 11 months, increase trees would be tested every 6 months, and production trees would not have to be tested if sold within 12 months. This would give producers greater flexibility because they can ship production trees without additional testing as soon as they are ready for sale if that occurs before 12 months of age.
  • Inspection Timing: We are proposing to alter inspection timing requirements to provide greater flexibility for producers. Rather than requiring inspection every 30 days, we propose changing the requirement to say that the interval between inspections cannot exceed 30 days. This change would allow individual producers to schedule inspections that fit their production schedules.
  • Pest Detection inside an Approved Structure: In the revised protocol, we provide greater detail on the process that will be followed when a pest is detected inside an approved structure.

 

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