The challenge of maintaining effective plant pest prevention programs in the face of government transitions and budget cuts was a central theme at the annual meeting of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), hosted by the U.S. last week in Louisville, KY. Plant health agencies in Canada and the U.S., in particular, spoke of diminishing resources, while Mexico is in a state of transition as a new president takes office at the end of the year.
The final day of the annual meeting featured a symposium on the international trade in nursery and greenhouse plants. Live plants are regulated as a potential pathway for new and harmful plant pests, diseases, and weeds to be introduced to North America. ANLA’s Craig Regelbrugge provided an opening presentation on the state of the U.S industry and import and export trends. Later in the program Joe Bischoff, who joined ANLA’s government relations team in February, described the industry’s response to the discovery of boxwood blight one year ago. With ANLA’s leadership, an industry working group developed best management practices for prevention and management of the new disease threat. ANLA also led a coordinated effort to build a research agenda and to direct over half a million dollars in funding toward the highest priority research needs. ANLA also worked with researchers on a uniform template for compliance.
In side meetings, ANLA and SAF met with U.S., Canadian, and state regulators to coordinate efforts toward developing new, voluntary approaches to plant certification and trade that rely on production systems, monitoring, and record-keeping rather than traditional end-point inspection. The U.S. and Canada are already working on revising the existing Greenhouse Certification Program, and ANLA believes plant certification programs should have a consistent framework and be risk based.
In other news from the meeting, regulatory officials remain concerned over non-compliance with international rules for treating solid wood packaging. This is a huge issue for the nursery, landscape, and Christmas tree industries, since destructive regulated pests like emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and pine shoot beetle arrived here on wood packaging. Finally, the three countries adopted several new standards, including one intended to facilitate safe trade of Christmas trees within North America. ANLA and government relations partner the National Christmas Tree Association, had provided industry review and comment on this new standard.