Info on relaxation of USDA import rules for seed

Russell Stafford, Odyssey Bulbs
Mon, 03 May 2004 15:15:55 PDT
Except for the limits on the number of seeds per packet and the number of 
packets per shipment, the proposed regulations sound very much like the 
ones already in place for importation of seeds of woody plants.  The rules 
require such seed to be imported through one of the designated APHIS 
stations.  My Royal Horticultural Society shipment always includes some 
seeds of woody plants and always enters through New York APHIS, and 
although USDA is slower than I would like in inspecting the seeds and 
relaying them to me I have otherwise had no problems.

As Joe said, you only need to give general information on the import permit 
-- such as some of the genera that you're likely to import and the 
countries you're most likely to import them from.  A few weeks later you 
receive your permit (good for 5 years) and a supply of yellow and green 
labels to be sent to suppliers, along with a copy of your permit.  If you 
run out of labels USDA will send more.

It appears to me that these new rules would in many cases be a significant 
improvement over the current ones.  Some provision needs to be made for 
importing genera such as Hypericum that tend to have very fine seeds, and 
the labeling requirements (if taken literally) seem too fussy, but in 
general these rules will make it much easier and less costly for entities 
such as the Royal Horticultural Society to send seed to the U.S.

In short, far better and less burdensome to be required to obtain a permit 
-- good for 5 years -- to import small quantities of seeds than to be 
required to obtain a phyto certificate for each importation.


At 10:36 PM 5/1/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear All,
>After reading through all of this it sounds like a different permit would 
>be required for each shipment of seed. So if say one of the members of 
>this list in another country wanted to send seed to one of us in the 
>United States we would have to ask for a permit for that seed by name and 
>include where it was coming from. If the permit were granted it would be 
>sent to the person along with labels for where to send the seed and then 
>the seed would be sent there to be inspected and if o.k. it would then be 
>sent on to the recipient. Is that the way everyone else interprets this? 
>There would be extra cost for postage to ask for the permit, to send the 
>permit on to the exporter if granted and then to pay for the seed to go 
>for inspection and then back to you. 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 system might be worse than the old one?
>Mary Sue

Russell Stafford
Odyssey Bulbs
8984 Meadow Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan  49103

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