More info than you probably need about importing into the USA

James Waddick
Sun, 23 Jan 2011 08:49:53 PST
Dear Ellen,
	Mind if I add 2 cents?

	The Small lot seed program was only instituted a few years 
ago and I believe home gardeners, seed exchanges and collectors were 
seriously involved in these regulations. You might contact Joyce 
Fingerut of NARGS as she coordinated their efforts.  I think Tony 
Avent was also involved.

	One thing that was involved was the formation of the European 
Unon. This union meant, in part, that phytosanitary inspection and 
certificates were generally no longer need for most plants from most 
countries. As a result of that, it became more difficult and 
expensive to actually get a phyto and this became even more difficult 
for the import of small lots of seeds. There are lots of home 
gardeners who import European vegetable and flower seed packets in 

	As co-chair of an international seed exchange, the small lot 
program is both a boon and a constant hassle. In some cases seeds are 
delayed almost not at all or interminably and for no reason. The 
first import labels were labelled for delivery to Jamaica NY (home of 
JFK airport), but some/many were dutifully sent to Jamaica, the 

	Our worst situation was a five month delay for no obvious 
reason between departure from a donor in France and the eventual 
approval and delivery BACK to France instead to designated recipient, 
me. I have spoken to the inspector often enough to be on a first name 
basis and we can generally come to some agreement that fits our needs 
and the USDA regs. They are very understanding.

	Notwithstanding that the small lot program does in general 
make legal importation of small packets of seeds much easier and 
cheaper, there are still totally illogical aspects of USD importation 
that are not solved by 'knowing the regulations'. These regulations 
are often buried in text, convoluted and inconsistently enforced.

	My suggestion: KISS. I have had a variety of USDA permits for 
decades and it is important to follow the rules , as best you 
understand them, and keep up to date as best you can. Even doing this 
and keeping your nose to the grind stone, does not  prevent you from 
the wrath of USDA, Customs, Border Patrol and/or Homeland Security 
all of which may compete to harass you for reasons not in your 
control (such as having an import enter at the wrong airport - not an 
approved port of entry).

	I won't get on my soap box, but call me if you want to talk 
about this and not on a public forum and hoping our phones are not 
tapped. I am not paranoid, unfortunately.

		Good luck and best 		Jim W.
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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