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State nursery industry requests that ODA institute
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State nursery industry requests that ODA institute
Phytophthora ramorum inspection and surveillance program

June 17, 2004

Contact: Ann Murphy at (503) 682-5089 or (800) 342-6401.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) is asking the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to step up its inspection of Oregon nurseries by developing, implementing and maintaining a state-of-the-art inspection and surveillance program. The ODA continues to work closely with the industry to make certain purchasers of Oregon nursery products do not receive Phytophthora ramorum-infected plants.

The OAN is a strong proponent for the production of healthy nursery stock and using state-of-the-art testing and inspection methods. With its history of supporting rigorous and effective quarantines through a cooperative partnership with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the OAN is requesting that the ODA re-evaluate current survey standards.

"The OAN is asking the ODA to implement a Phytophthora ramorum pathogen-free production program in an effort to assure the nursery industry and home gardeners that Oregon continues to grow and ship high quality, disease-free nursery stock," said Michael (Mac) McCarter, OAN president. "Because of the potential for market uncertainty and additional regulation, we are asking the Oregon Department of Agriculture to immediately institute an inspection program that, in many cases exceeds the currently recommended USDA APHIS standards. We want the regulation to be mandatory and include both the regulated hosts and associated hosts of P. ramorum."

The OAN would like all nurseries in the state that ship host and associated host material to be inspected and tested at a scientifically valid level using USDA APHIS-approved methods. The association is also asking that nurseries growing or shipping this material employ USDA APHIS-approved best management practices (BMPs) to lower the risk of introduction. "We want the ODA to monitor the adoption of BMPs through a mandatory compliance agreement program," stated McCarter. "The association strongly supports effective and transparent regulations to mitigate P. ramorum. We are asking the ODA to use its broad regulatory powers to make this come to pass."

The Oregon Association of Nurseries and its members want to assure all purchasers of Oregon plant material and regulatory officials that plants produced by Oregon growers are free of Phytophthora ramorum.

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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