APHIS import renewal versus actual Seed import

James Waddick jwaddick@kc.rr.com
Thu, 07 Nov 2013 14:17:12 PST
Dear Diane, 

On Nov 7, 2013, at 2:14 PM, Diane Whitehead <voltaire@islandnet.com> wrote:
> In September I sent seeds to a club based in the U.S.  I have just received the seeds back.  They passed inspection in Seattle, 
> but it looks as though the mailing label to send the seeds onward was lost.

	Renewing the permit is one thing, actual import is yet another. USDA works in mysterious ways. As co-chair of an international seed exchange we get seed from over a dozen different countries and the specifics are unreal. For a long while, seeds were inspected only at the APHIS station in Jamaica NY near JFK Int. Airport. The import labels clearly said Jamaica NY. Trouble is many seeds went to Jamaica - the country, first. The Jamaican Postal Service made up rubber stamps that read soothing like ‘Sent to Jamaica by Mistake’. Needless to say this caused delays.

	And at one time they must have piled up seed imports until they got around to them. Seeds would take 2 days to get to NY from almost anywhere in the world and sit in the Inspection station for months. The worst one I recall sat in NY for 5 months, passed inspection and was promptly shipped back to the sender in France.  3 days later the original sender readdressed the packet to me and it was received without further inspection.

	We had many delays not always the fault of the sender or recipient. I have had a few phone calls from USDA asking about seeds. My favorite was in regard to Iris seeds sent from Hungary. There were 20 packets all labelled and fairly common seed exchange materials, but one was simply labelled "Iris sp.”. The inspector was concerned that this might seeds of a wild collected, endangered species prohibited from import such as Iris lacustris ( native to the northern Great Lakes).  I was able to convince the inspector that this particular donor often sent Spuria Irises and this was simply an abbreviation for Iris spuria. The seed passed.  It seems highly unlikely that a grower in Hungary would be sending wild collected Iris lactrustris. 

	Of course there are even more problems with donors (Dell must have some stories) I won’t go into. Mostly a thankless job. 

		Best wishes and Diane I hope your returned seeds were not headed to SIGNA. If so let me know and I’ll work with you. 		Best  Jim

James Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd
Kansas City, MO 64152-2711
Phone     816-746-1949

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