Info on relaxation of USDA import rules for seed

Leo A. Martin
Mon, 03 May 2004 19:17:50 PDT
Some people haven't been able to get to the links.

Start at the APHIS Regulatory Analysis and Development home page

In the left menu column, in tiny print, look for RAD Links. Under this
see Recent Publications. Click there to go to this page:

Right in front of you in the white section is Plant Protection and
Quarantine. Click there to go to this page:…

The first item as of now is
Importation of Small Lots of Seed Without Phytosanitary Certificates

Below it are links for getting the information as text or as a PDF.

> I would like to know more about what the potential problems are for 
the new
> regulations.  As near as I can tell, USDA will require an import 
permit, rather
> than a phytosanitary permit.  But, I could be getting the information
> scrambled.

> I would like to know what Leo Martin found objectionable.

Shipments with phytosanitary certificates would still be permitted
entry. The current method would still be legal and available if a
phytosanitary certificate can be issued by the shipper's agricultural

This proposed system would be another method for importing seed. It
would permit importing seed in small quantities without a phytosanitary
certificate, but still maintaining compliance with import quarantine goals.

A separate permit for each proposed shipment would have to be obtained
in advance from APHIS. The permit would specify exactly which seeds
would be in the shipment.

The proposed system would allow each shipment to contain up to 50
packets of different species, of up to 50 seeds in each packet. Each 
packet would have to be

The shipment would have to go to one of a few specific ports of entry 
for APHIS inspection. The seeds would be inspected.

If the seeds passed inspection they would be sent along.

This system will be more expensive and cumbersome and slower than the 
current system.

I think what we hobbyists had desired all along was an exemption from 
the phytosanitary certification process so we wouldn't have to pay $50 
per shipment. It seems APHIS is not interested in fulfilling this desire.

 > It sounds like for a seed exchange the person
> receiving the seed would have to know ahead of time what it would be in
> order to request the permit for each donor and a bit of a nightmare 
 > to do all the paper work. Is this what Leo means by thinking the new 
 > might be worse than the old one?

Yes. Just think about what would happen with exchange of seed that must 
be planted immediately, such as some amaryllids, or seed of aquatic 
plants. The regulations specify seeds must be in a gas-permeable 
container, which means a container that could dry out.

And - have any of you seen how big orchid seeds are? Think you would be 
able to see 50? Or how about Lithops seed?

Seed exchanges will be facing an interesting situation. Should they have 
somebody in Europe receive all the seed, and send to the US in one 
larger packet, the way Rachel now does from Silverhill?

Leo A. Martin
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Like cactus and succulents?
Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society

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