There is still time to submit comments to NIFA about priorities

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting input from stakeholders regarding research, extension, and education priorities in food and agriculture. A series of four in-person listening sessions hosted in different regions across the country and submission of written comments will offer two ways to share your thoughts and ideas. Stakeholder input received from both methods will be treated equally. Written comments will be accepted through Friday, December 1, 2017.

This listening opportunity allows stakeholders to provide feedback on the following questions:

  • What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?
  • What are the most promising science opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences?

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APHIS Extends Comment Period for Chrysanthemum Plants for Planting Pest List

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is considering removing import restrictions on chrysanthemum plants for planting. Chrysanthemums are currently regulated for Puccinia horaria, also known as chrysanthemum white rust (CWR).

To better understand which pests might enter the continental United States if we remove import restrictions on CWR hosts, APHIS has prepared a commodity pest list available for comment titled: Importations of Chrysanthemum Cuttings and In vitro Plantlets for Propagation from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam into the Continental United States. The list contains 44 U.S. quarantine pests found in 20 countries identified as potential sources of cuttings and in vitro plantlets of Chrysanthemum spp. and synonymous genera. Continue reading

APHIS Extends Comment Period for Proposed Rule on Importation of Hass Avocados From Colombia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is extending the comment period for a proposed rule that would allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States. We are also notifying the public of the availability of a revised pest risk assessment (PRA) and risk management document (RMD) associated with the proposed rule. Continued analysis by APHIS shows that the proposed importation of Hass avocados from Colombia poses a minimal risk of introducing pests of concern, including the pink hibiscus mealybug, into the United States. Extending the comment period will allow interested persons time to review the new information and to submit comments by the new closing date of March 20, 2017. Continue reading

APHIS Reopens Comment Period: Importation of Hass Avocados from Colombia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reopening the comment period for a proposed rule that would allow the importation of Hass avocados from Colombia into the continental United States.  We are also notifying the public of the availability of a revised pest risk assessment (PRA) and risk management document (RMD) associated with the proposed rule. Reopening the comment period will allow interested persons time to review the new information and to submit comments by the new closing date of February 16, 2017.

The PRA that we used to draft the RMD considered the pink hibiscus mealybug a significant pest that could follow the Hass avocados pathway from Colombia to the continental United States. We have subsequently determined that growing conditions for Hass avocados in Colombia, as well as the standard packinghouse practices used to prepare the fruit for commercial export effectively preclude the pink hibiscus mealybug from following the pathway from Colombia to the continental United States. Continue reading

EPA Extends Comment Period for Malathion Assessment

The Environmental Protection Agency is extending the public comment period for the draft malathion human health risk assessment.  The availability of the draft assessment for this organophosphate pesticide was originally announced on September 15, 2016.  The comment period will now close on December 21, 2016.

Read the September 15 announcement.

Learn more about malathion.

Public Comment Period Now Open for EPA’s Certification and Training Proposal

The 90-day public comment period has started for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for pesticide applicators who apply restricted use pesticides. These pesticides are not available for purchase by the general public, require special handling, and may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone working under his or her direct supervision.

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EPA extends the comment period to comment on protection of pollinators

EPA is extending the comment period on its proposed plan to prohibit the use of all highly toxic pesticides when crops are in bloom and bees are present under contract for pollination services. Initially released on May 29, 2015, the plan also recommends that states and tribes develop pollinator protection plans and best management practices.

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