> Dear Friends, I agree with Jane and Dylan on this: > > "*The USDA has about twice as many layers of security as my online** > banking, which apparently was put in place because (a) many people > try to hack all US government websites, (b) there is a high level of > **paranoia as a result, and (c) they did it because they could*." And emphasize the overall incompetence of the organization. > Yet they have inadvertently posted the email addresses of those who have > commented on proposed rule changes! Navigating those pages of often very > useful comments from a wide range of growers is a nightmare. As with > importing or exporting, the system does not inherently reward workers for doing > the right thing but only for going by what is in the rule book. The more > input from hobbyists and nurserymen in the law-making process the better. I am the cochair of the Species iris Group of North America Seed Exchange. We get literally hundreds of seeds packets from out of the country and send hundreds out each year. I won't itemize every example of incompetence, but just relate two examples from personal experience: 1. A few years ago a well known, award winning botanist in France sent us a packets with dozens of varieties of iris seeds. They were legally packed and documented and sent to the USDA inspection station in New York. After residing there for 5 months, the packet was approved, released and sent back to France! Instead of sending it to us as the approved recipient, they sent it back. And it only took 5 months. We did eventually get the seeds. 2. The USDA seed import label as the prominent address of Jamaica, New York. Almost every year we get at least one packet that is approved and released but has been stamped with a rubber stamp that says "Missent to Jamaica". This may be the international mail authorities, The US Postal Service, USDA's own routing system. We don't know, but it happens often enough that the postal authorities in the COUNTRY of Jamaica have made up a Rubber Stamp for their frequent use. How long does this delay shipments? Unknown . And there are ample other bits of evidence that the system does not work. I am not at liberty to tell all. I have heard that these onerous regulations and 'games' have encouraged importers to side step the system totally and avoid the legal import methods. So the system works - some times - not always - and may take a lot of hoops to jump through. Good luck. Jim W.