USDA (part rant)Hi Gang, I would like to know more about what the potential
Sat, 01 May 2004 09:48:52 PDT
Hi Gang,

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 

When you read about the import permit, and the info they as for, it all seems 
hopelessly confusing (see below my closing).  However, I have such a permit 
and it was an easy thing to get, and was free.  

For "approximate quantity and kinds" I put down "small seed amounts (less 
than 200) of flowering plants, including palms, bulbs, succulents, shrubs and 
ornamentals.  USDA accepted this.  They sort of filled it in again and put, 
except for noxious weeds and specifically excluded species.  Then they provided a 
pamphlet of things that you cannot import under any circumstances.  

For "U.S. port of Entry,"  I put down, Houston, NY City, Miami, and other 
appropriate international airports and ports.  That was fine with the USDA.

For other categories I put similarly broad statements, and for "expected date 
of arrival" I put "variable, seasonal, depending upon availability."  

Is it a pain in the butt for USDA to be issuing regulations and being silly?  
Yes!  Was it easy enough to get a very broad permit, valid for 5 years, for 

I think the USDA is nuts, and bent on trying to regulate whatever it can, so 
that it can increase in scope and power (like most federal agencies).  I've 
seen some earlier regulations from the 80s that were hopelessly without (in my 
opinion) scientific merit.  USDA continues to impose some disease quarantines 
that the American Phytopathological Society deems silly, detrimental, and 
useless for the containment of certain diseases.  So, do not count me in as a 
supporter of USDA-APHIS.  

Of course, I have friends and colleagues working in USDA-APHIS, and all are 
reasonable people, and not monsters.  They are just doing their jobs, and the 
really silly decisions are made by top-level people who must have backgrounds 
in "how to increase paperwork and annoy citizens, while at the same time 
creating a mess."  

But, in my experience dealing with USDA-APHIS, it seems that there is nothing 
you can do about it except play their game.  The new regulations seem 
designed to allow in small amounts of seed for hobbyists, and small growers, while 
still allowing big brother to keep track of who is importing.  

Sorry, to rant so much.  If I have the new USDA regulations pegged 
incorrectly, please give me the scoop--I'm hoping the permits are free and filled out 
"easily enough" as before.  


The completed permit application must contain the 
following information: (1) Name, address, and telephone number of the 
importer; (2) approximate quantity and kinds (botanical designations) 
of articles intended to be imported; (3) country or locality where 
grown; (4) intended U.S. port of entry; (5) means of transportation, 
e.g., mail, airmail, express, air express, freight, airfreight, or 
baggage; and (6) expected date of arrival. The PPQ program of APHIS 
will review the application and will then decide whether to issue a 
permit and the applicable conditions for importation. Permits would be 
issued at the discretion of APHIS only to residents of the United 
States, whether an individual or an organization.

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