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OAN claims victory as USDA plans to modify prenotification rule

Some 18 months after imposing its controversial prenotification rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has started a public process to discontinue it in its current form and eliminate the requirement for most Oregon nurseries. The rule, still in effect for now, required nurseries in regulated areas to inform receiving states before sending out interstate shipments containing any of five plant genera considered high risk for Phytophthora ramorum.

The rule places a heavy paperwork burden on nurseries as well as state agencies, without doing much to mitigate the spread of the pathogen. Nationally, the OAN took the lead on fighting the regulation as soon as it was announced. Federal officials now agree the rule is ineffective and burdensome, and needs to be limited only to nurseries that are tested positive with the disease.

"Were it not for the effectiveness of the OAN in leveraging federal influence, bringing diverse partners together, and keeping our markets open, many of our fellow growers would be in trouble today," OAN President-Elect Carson Lord said.

Within the next few weeks, USDA-APHIS plans to issue a new federal order ending the prenotification rule for a majority of nurseries. Growers must continue to prenotify until the USDA states otherwise.

During negotiations, OAN leaders made a strong case for USDA to continue its investment and effort into a national systems approach for dealing with pests and diseases. The OAN has published the Safe Plant Procurement and Production Manual, an easy guide to the systems approach. Download your copy here, or obtain a bound copy by calling OAN at 503-682-5089.

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