Apr 26, 2018
Update: Progress on Idaho’s nematode program

The Idaho Potato Commission has released the latest on its efforts to fight the pale cyst nematode. The group also released a statement after a district court judge ruled in favor of a group of Idaho farmers affected by a federal pale cyst nematode quarantine program who claimed that they didn’t have input in the crafting of the program.

Statement on judge’s ruling:

Regarding the suit brought by a small number of growers regulated for pale cyst nematode (PCN), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is pleased the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho ruled in its favor in two claims, and found that two claims were abandoned by plaintiffs. In the remaining two claims, the court found that although the agency engaged the public when developing the program to combat PCN and protect Idaho’s potato industry, it erred procedurally. The court held that while the agency takes steps to correct any procedural defects, the PCN program will remain in effect because ending it would have disruptive consequences. As the court recognized, “[i]n the long-run, the quarantine and PCN regulations will help to preserve consumer confidence, both nationally and internationally, in the potato crops of Idaho and the United States.” – Idaho Potato Commission

Eradication program update:

  • Following eradication program treatments to date, viable nematode eggs are no longer detected in 22 of 27 infested fields, which represents nearly 80 percent of all infested field acreage detected since the first detection in 2006. Twelve of those fields are now eligible for resuming potato production, and one has resumed potato production with post-harvest surveys negative for viable PCN.
  • On March 12, 2018, the PCN program published a change to the regulated area that announced the deregulation of a 222-acre associated field. This field successfully completed a release protocol compromised of a sequence of soil surveys with negative laboratory results for PCN.
  • International trade: On March 1, 2018 Mexico changed portions of the export requirements regarding PCN soil surveys for exported Idaho fresh-pack potatoes. Idaho counties outside of Bingham and Bonneville no longer require field soil survey prior to export. Export potatoes from non-regulated fields in Bingham and Bonneville counties still require a soil survey as in the past. Fresh-pack potatoes from PCN regulated fields are still prohibited from being exported to Mexico.

More details can be found in the full report.

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