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Nursery industry applauds good news regarding ag department's
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Nursery industry applauds good news regarding ag department's
P. ramorum inspection and certification program

September 21, 2004

Contact: Cam Sivesind at (503) 682-5089 or (800) 342-6401.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) applauds today's statement by the Oregon Department of Agriculture on the success of the department's nursery inspection and certification program. In June the OAN asked ODA to launch a comprehensive program to inspect and certify nurseries, and to destroy any plants found infected with Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus-like pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death. That inspection and certification effort spanned a period of 60 days and included a total of 20 U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors who assisted ODA staff. ODA reported today that nearly 680 Oregon nurseries were inspected and certified free of the disease.

The nursery inspection and certification program found P. ramorum infected plants at one Washington County nursery. The nursery is cooperating fully with the ODA and the USDA, and efforts are under way at the nursery to isolate and eradicate the problem.

Nurseries inspected and found free of the pathogen can be certified, but only those nurseries that enter into compliance agreements with the ODA can ship P. ramorum-susceptible plants (referred to by USDA as host and associated host plants). Compliance agreements require nurseries to be inspected and tested annually, to alert ODA whenever it brings in woody plant material from out of state, and to hold any plants on USDA's host or associated host list for inspection and testing if such material is received from another noncertified nursery. Oregon certified nurseries with compliance agreements use ODA-approved stickers to place on shipments of regulated plants to alert customers and regulators that these plants originate from a certified nursery with a compliance agreement.

ODA's announcement makes good on Oregon's commitment to look for Phytophthora ramorum and to deal with the problem whenever and wherever it's found," said John Aguirre, OAN executive director. "Our goal is to make certain anyone who buys Oregon plant material can do so knowing that the ODA, the USDA and the industry have worked hard to make certain that customers are receiving clean, high quality plants."

The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 1,600 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon's ornamental horticulture industry is the state's largest agricultural commodity, with 2002 sales of $727 million.

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