The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has again reopened the comment period on the protocols for regulating and deregulating pale cyst nematode (PCN)-infested and associated areas. APHIS initially accepted comments on the protocols March 1, 2019, and again on June 26, 2019 for 30 days. APHIS is providing the public with an additional opportunity to comment on the science supporting the protocols, including the sources of the methods informing their content. In an effort to give all interested parties ample opportunities to comment, we are reopening the comment period for 30 days beginning June 5, 2020 and ending July 6, 2020.
PCN—a major pest of potato crops—was discovered in Idaho in 2006. In 2017, APHIS issued an interim rule in 2007 that established a quarantine and restricted the interstate movement of potatoes and other regulated articles from the quarantined areas. The interim rule included a 3-year bioassay protocol that would allow the removal of a previously infested field from quarantine. In 2009, APHIS published a final rule that included the 3-year bioassay protocol but did not preclude the use of other protocols for determining when an infested field could be removed from quarantine. APHIS also stated it would continue to solicit stakeholder input as it developed the field removal protocol.
Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the development of these protocols by submitting comments starting on the day of publication until July 6, 2020 at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2018-0041
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.