Apr 30, 2015
Idaho growers file federal lawsuit

A group of Idaho potato growers have filed a federal lawsuit challenging certain agency actions” governing pale cyst nematodes (PCN) by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Boise. The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Among the actions of relief sought is an immediate end to the quarantine and regulation of all fields owned by the plaintiffs.

PCN was detected in Idaho in 2006. PCNs are soilborne organisms that do not infest potatoes, but infest feeder roots where females form cysts containing 200 to 600 eggs. The cysts can stay dormant for up to 30 years while the eggs inside remain viable. Left unchecked, PCN can reduce yields up to 80 percent in fields.

APHIS currently is overseeing 10,320 regulated acres, of which 2,897 acres are infested with PCN.

“We are unable to comment on pending litigation,” said Abbey Powell, public affairs specialist at USDA-APHIS.

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