An Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) regional quarantine amendment for the movement of bulk citrus and nursery stock has been submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The citrus industry has been aggressively combatting ACP, but the efforts to slow the spread of the pest have not been as successful as were intended. Huanglongbing (HLB) has still not yet been found in a commercial grove, but there have been increased detections of ACP and HLB over the past six months.
OAL will have ten days from the December 14 submission to approve or deny the emergency request. The quarantine would be put into effect starting January 1 if the request is approved. The amendment would create seven bulk citrus regional quarantine zones and three nursery stock regional quarantine zones. The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program will share the decision through a Citrus Alert after OAL makes their final decision.
A 14-day “phase-in” period would be included as part of the emergency request, which will provide time for the industry to prepare to meet the ACP-free performance standard. The standards will apply to all citrus shipments moving between bulk citrus regional ACP quarantine zones.
Under the regional quarantine amendment, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) will be providing new compliance agreement exhibits for growers, transporters, grove managers, juice plants, packers, and other processers. The new documentation must be signed and returned to CDFA. During the updating process, shipments of bulk citrus moving between regions will need to be accompanied by a properly completed ACP-Free Declaration form. Shipments will also need to be in a completely enclosed vehicle or completely covered by a tarp when moving anywhere in California.
CDFA will also be contacting production nurseries in order to issue new compliance agreements. Nursery stock tags will be administered on a color-coded, region-specific basis. Initial enforcement will focus on production nurseries, but retail nurseries will have to obtain treated and tagged nursery stock from production nurseries in order to comply with the new regulation.