US: SAF work with APHIS on geraniums, certification, farm bill funds

Continuing the strong emphasis on collaboration and communication between the floral industry and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), SAF’s senior director of government relations Lin Schmale was a featured speaker last week at a two-day educational session hosted by APHIS, training new inspectors to participate in the ongoing, successful geranium certification program.

“Any offshore farm wishing to export geranium cuttings requires certification and an annual APHIS inspection, so having a cadre of inspectors familiar with industry practices is very important,” Schmale said.

Since 2002, SAF has worked with APHIS and the offshore producers of geranium cuttings to establish and maintain the program, which is based on industry production practices. The accidental introduction into the U.S. in 2003 and 2004 of Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, Biovar 2, a serious quarantine disease of potatoes that causes considerable economic damage to the geranium industry, heightened the program’s importance. No subsequent introductions have occurred.

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