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Re: [Aroid-l] Shipping plants into Arizona UPDATE

  • Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Shipping plants into Arizona UPDATE
  • From: "Leo A. Martin" leo1010@attglobal.net
  • Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 20:50:43 -0700

I contacted my state representative about this a few years back, asking why we had this new requirement. He got back to me. The citrus industry managed to get a law passed to this effect.

The Arizona citrus industry is afraid of the citrus canker bacterium which has impacted Florida's industry, so a special phytosanitary certificate for all shipments into Arizona is required. At one time citrus was a huge money-maker in Arizona. There is still lots of farming but not nearly as much as before.

The mail isn't actually opened and searched, so far as I can tell. But ethical businesses typically try to obey the laws of the states to which they ship.

It typically costs me around $50 additional for the special phyto to have something shipped into Arizona. Sorry, out of state nurseries, but it just doesn't make financial sense anymore.

For those of you not in the know -- citrus canker is a bacterial disease whose spores spread readily via wind, shoes, equipment... very readily. It doesn't much harm the health of the trees, and doesn't even affect production much, but the fruit after being attacked doesn't look perfect. Therefore it is considered unmarketable.

Several years back southern Florida municipalities embarked on search-and-destroy missions to eliminate all citrus trees from all non-commercial private property (for example, homeowners' back yards), on the theory that this would minimize the spread of spores to uninfected commercial groves. Speaking as a biologist, and knowing that sometimes wind blows in Florida, especially in late summer, this seems a completely silly idea to me, but I freely admit I haven't studied the biology of the bug.

Government enforcement agents entered private property without permission, without warrants, and without compensation, to destroy homeowner's healthy citrus trees, sometimes assaulting and battering citizens who didn't know what was going on. I guess you in Florida have quite the agriculture lobby.

Arizona ignores the threat of the Thai cycad scale; mass importing of Cycas revoluta from Florida continues. Even large local nurseries who understand the threat continue to import C. revoluta from Florida. Their attitude seems to be, "It'll get here sooner or later, so we might as well make money while we can."

Leo A. Martin
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Some must watch while some must sleep-so runs the world away.
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