Anyone who is interested in gardening and sharing seeds better read!!!! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

This is a big heads up! There are things going on down at the USDA again! It is time to get rid of that agency all together!!!

Little Bit farm

-- Little bit Farm (, March 27, 2002


Just thought I'd stop by again and say just how terrible I think this is. For years the USDA and it's counterparts have been trying to stop the growth and sales of herbs. Fortunately the haven't been able to get them under their jurisdiction. Now, however many new herbs and possibly some old ones will be discribed as "noxious weeds". This Must Be Stopped!!!! Please Please stock up on your plants and seeds now! If this happens there won't be time to prepare any more. If there are wild plants you need to add to your garden, then now is the time. It is also the time to develop in state seed saving societies!

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, March 27, 2002.

Tried to connect to this sight, connection could not be established. Tried a search engine, said no matches? Would love to see what is going on with USDA. Seems they are always doing something to mess things up.

-- Harmony (, March 27, 2002.

Thanks, Little Bit, for the "heads up". This is HORRIBLE! My daughter has a gardening and gift shop where she sells nothing but organic and heirloom seeds and plants. I'm going to fax this whole thing to her immediately, so she can tell ALL her customers, and I'll spread it around to everyone I know, also. Thanks again for the information.

-- Bonnie (, March 27, 2002.

Ok, I am going to try cutting and pasting. I used the link I posted and it worked, but just in case here it is. Sorry for taking up bandwidth but this is important.

USDA Plans Severe Gardening Restrictions

Direct quotes from USDA Action Plan

"Clean list" - Everything not on government approved list banned. Penalties - $1000 for home gardeners, up to $250,000 for nurseries. Interstate movement of seeds - Prohibited without permit and inspection. Send objections to the USDA

Write your representative (Sample letter)

What President Bush says

Your help is needed. The USDA is now accepting public comments on their Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program, which includes the "clean list" or "white list" proposal. They are now going beyond the clean list and are stating that they intend to require permits and inspections for ALL seeds and plants moving interstate – this will effectively shut down many popular seed exchanges like the North American Rock Garden Society exchange and the Seed Saver’s Exchange. These exchanges have been hailed as important means of preserving biodiversity. How many home seed savers will be willing to get appropriate licenses and inspections when they cost a minimum of $100 (for a nursery stock or seed license here in California). Penalties of up to $250,000 are proposed with a minimum fine of $1000 even for home gardeners. Please link to this page.

Contact and state you are opposed to the "clean list" and any permit or inspection requirements for interstate movement of seeds and plants. State that the Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program is unacceptable must be halted, additional time for public comment allowed, and no new restrictions on the free flow of any seeds and plants that are not listed noxious weeds be put in place.

Send 4 copies of your comments to:

Docket No. 01-034-1 Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD, APHIS Suite 3C03 4700 River Road, Unit 118 Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

This is necessary so that your e-mails will not simply be deleted.

Last year, the USDA requested comments on its clean list proposal - they received an overwhelming response - 8 to 1 against, yet they are ignoring the clear will of the American people. The government tried to impose a clean list policy three times during the 1970s, and had to back down each time due to negative response from biologists. Apparently, "no" is not an acceptable response.

The public comment period ends March 29th, but it is important to keep up pressure even after this date, particularly by writing your representatives.

The USDA is clearly out of touch with the American people. They just got through the huge furor when they tried to impose "Organic Rules" which allowed irradiation and toxic sewage sludge use. They have also instituted new phytosanitary certificate requirements which they admit are designed to prevent you from ordering from overseas. Please object to the new phytosanitary rules in your letter, too.

Write to your representatives and demand that the out-of-control USDA be reined in.

These proposals fundamentally change the regulations on the importation and distribution of plants. Currently, you may import, possess and distribute all plants except a few known harmful species that are banned – a "blacklist" approach in which everything is permitted except what is prohibited. The new Clean List (or white list) policy is the opposite – everything is prohibited except what is on a government-approved "clean list" of species that the USDA permits. This will effectively ban 99% of the species on the planet. The clean list or white list has been called an internet hoax, and the agencies involved have actually sent out letters denying they have such plans – go to their website and read for yourself what they say:

See Weed Action Plan - 4th blue box down on the right. (Note that this is a pdf file and takes a long time to load - you will see a blank page for a while after clicking here)

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Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program

Page 5:

Interstate movement:

"2) Issue regulations that require that any plant, plant product, biological control organism, noxious weed, article, or means of conveyance imported, entered, to be exported, or moved in interstate commerce be accompanied by a permit and a certification of inspection and be subject to remedial measures necessary to prevent the spread of plant pests or noxious weeds…"

NOTE: "Any plant or plant product" will include dried medicinal herbs, as well as clean seeds.

Page 9:


"Emergency Action (recommended regulatory change)

The PPA authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to hold, seize, quarantine, treat, apply other remedial measures to, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any plant, plant pest, noxious weed, biological control organism, plant product, article, or means of conveyance moving into or through the United States, or interstate, or moved into or through the United States, or interstate, that the Secretary has reason to believe is a plant pest or noxious weed, is infested with a plant pest or noxious weed, or is in violation of the PPA. This authority includes action on the progeny of any plant, biological control organism, plant product, plant pests, or noxious weed. Further, the Secretary may use extraordinary emergency action for weeds threatening plants or plant products, if those weeds are new to or not known to be widely prevalent in or distributed within and throughout the United States."

Page 14:

"Civil Penalties (recommended program change)

The PPA authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to hold, seize, quarantine, treat, apply other remedial measures to, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any plant, plant pest, noxious weed, biological control organism, plant product, article, or means of conveyance moving into or through the United States, or interstate, or moved into or through the United States, or interstate, that the Secretary has reason to believe is a plant pest or noxious weed, is infested with a plant pest or noxious weed, or is in violation of the PPA. This authority includes action on the progeny of any plant, biological control organism, plant product, plant pests, or noxious weed. If a plant, plant pest, noxious weed, biological control organism, plant product, article, or means of conveyance is in violation of the PPA, the Secretary may issue civil penalties ranging from $1,000 for an initial violation by an individual moving regulated articles not for monetary gain, to $250,000 per violation. The Safeguarding Report recognizes that the PPA civil penalty fee structure provides an effective deterrent against violations of the regulations. APHIS plans to use our new authority under the PPA to issue civil penalties for noncompliance with the regulations."

NOTE: "An individual moving articles not for monetary gain" means home gardeners.

Page 19:

"Risk Assessment for Imported Nursery Stock (Propagative Material)

Current regulations do not mandate a screening process for the invasive potential of plants imported for propagation. Under 7 CFR 319.37, nursery stock is admissible unless it is on a regulated list. Plants on the regulated lists are prohibited either because they are Federal noxious weeds or because they are associated with certain plant diseases or other plant pests. The Safeguarding Review recommends adopting a modified "clean list approach" for propagative material, specifying what is permissible, rather than listing regulated plants. Similarly, the draft Invasive Species Management Plan recommends development of risk analysis and screening system for evaluating first time intentional introductions of non-native species before entry is allowed.

The PPA states that the Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or restrict the importation, entry, exportation, or movement in interstate commerce of any plant, plant product, biological control organism, noxious weed, article, or means of conveyance to prevent the introduction into the United States or dissemination within the United States of a plant pest or noxious weed. The PPA further provides the authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to initiate a screening process to evaluate proposed new introductions of non- native plants. Risk assessment for propagative material has two weed- related components: evaluation of the commodity as a potential weed and evaluation of the commodity’s potential to provide a pathway for weeds."

NOTE: "...specifying what is permissible, rather than listing regulated plants" means that everything that is not on the government- approved list will be prohibited. Currently, they list only what is prohibited - "regulated plants."

Page 20:

"Proposed Strategies to Achieve the Goal:

1. Risk assessment: Use risk assessment processes that follow international standards to support identification of weed species to be regulated, provide classification of undesirable plant species, identify potential pathways, and determine appropriate regulatory action.

3. Weediness Screening: Explore revision of the nursery stock regulations (7 CFR 319.37) to require risk assessment before a commodity is approved for entry."

NOTE: "Weediness Screening" and "risk assessment before a commodity is approved for entry" means that all species will be denied entry (import) until the government has determined that they are approved.

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How to Contact Your Members of Congress in Washington, DC Contact information and a search by state for Senators and Members of the House of Representatives is as follows:

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Sample letter to an elected representative: Please print this out and send it to your representative. E-mailing is second-best, as a physical letter carries much more weight. Send a copy to the USDA, marked "My comments on the Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program."

Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman Jamie L. Whitten Federal Bldg. Rm. 200-A 12th & Jefferson Dr., SW Washington DC 20250 Phone 202-720-3631, Fax: 720-2166 Email:

and E-mail them a comment objecting to the clean list.

Also be sure to send 4 copies of your comments to:

Docket No. 01-034-1 Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD, APHIS Suite 3C03 4700 River Road, Unit 118 Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

This is necessary so that your e-mails will not simply be deleted.

Honorable _________________________

As a concerned voter, I am writing object to the USDA Draft Action Plan for the Noxious Weeds Program, which will implement a "clean list" and other unwarranted restrictions controlling the import and movement of plants and animals in the U.S., allegedly to stop the spread of "invasive species."

I feel that this "clean list" would be a reckless and irresponsible policy, for the following reasons:

Such a policy requires adequate, scientifically verified methods of predicting which species would be "invasive," yet all scientific attempts at predicting "invasiveness" have failed. We already have adequate weed laws. We already know which species are pests; implementing a sweeping, poorly-conceived ban on what will amount to 99% of the world’s species will cause more problems than it could possibly solve. Scientific researchers need ready access to the earth’s biological resources for new food crops, new medicinal plants, new industrial uses. Limiting this access will place U.S. scientists at a disadvantage in the competitive world markets. Limiting our farmers’ access to new crops will increase our dependence on foreign supplies. It will result in greater usage of herbicides on our public lands. It will do nothing to address the fundamental causes of "invasive" species - disrupted ecosystems. Small entrepreneurial businesses are responsible for the majority of all jobs created in the past 20 years, and they will bear the brunt of the economic harm this measure will create. Small nurseries have been responsible for the majority of new plant introductions from overseas which have revitalized the entire gardening industry in recent decades. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, horticulture and floriculture are the fastest growing sector of U.S. agriculture with 12.1 billion in revenues in 1998, and this has steadily risen since. In these difficult economic times, it is grossly irresponsible of the USDA to obstruct such an economic powerhouse with completely untested, unproven and unnecessary regulatory restrictions. These restrictions may be illegal under free trade treaties, and are sure to invite retaliatory measures by our trading partners. This comes at a time when entrepreneurial free trade should be encouraged. The clean list is only the latest in a pattern of USDA obstruction of legitimate business and biodiversity conservation efforts, as witness the recent imposition of outdated regulations that haven’t been enforced in decades due to their inapplicability. The phytosanitary- certificate requirement for flower seeds which has been unnecessary and unenforced for over 50 years, and irrational prohibitions of modern sterile-culture orchid seedlings (essential for orchid conservation), have both been suddenly enforced by an out-of-control USDA, sending shockwaves throughout the nursery industry and gardening community. Antiquated, outmoded regulations from the 19th century should not be enforced in the 21st. The clean list proposal is a reckless & irresponsible expansion of an antiquated, cumbersome and inefficient bureaucracy at a time when government should be moving towards a streamlined and efficient future. When the USDA requested comments on the clean list proposal, American scientists, businessmen and gardeners were 8 to 1 against the clean list, yet the USDA ignored the clear mandate from the American people, and included this and even more restrictive proposals in the Draft Action Plan. The USDA is totally out of touch with the American people – remember the recent "Organic Rules" furor? One of the founding fathers of our nation, Thomas Jefferson, said: "The greatest service a man may do for his country is the introduction of a useful plant." I hope you will stand with Jefferson on this issue, and rein in the out-of-control USDA and NISC.

I am totally opposed to any "clean list" policy as well as the new phytosanitary and orchid-seedling restrictions, and am opposed to any further restrictions and roadblocks to interstate commerce. The USDA must get back to its mission of serving agriculture, not obstructing it.

In closing, I want to point out that gardeners are the single largest common-interest group in the U.S., and that you can be sure we will Remember In November. I will be waiting for your response, indicating what you are doing to rein in the USDA & NISC, and where you stand on the "clean list" issue.


Little Bit farm

-- Little bit Farm (, March 27, 2002.

Here is more info:

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, March 27, 2002.

Thank you so VERY much little bit..I will do my part and contact my reps. Thought you might be interested in something I just read on Free Republic. They were talking about how the states are broke. They are looking for ways to generate income. So in Conneticutt they have put .61 on cigs and the following is linked as a possibiltiy for extra taxes. . . yarn (not commercial users..home users), seeds (garden), oh rats...darned memory..cannot remember what .. but there were a couple more that were just as incredulous as the yarn and seeds. Oh, I remember..of all things..candy. I seriously think the powers that be are out of control!

Thanks again for the heads up!

-- sher (, March 27, 2002.

Wow, Little Bit, thanks for the heads up. What really gets me is, I wonder how many obnoxious weeds and pests have been introduced into this country by the government themselves? And then they have the nerve to fine the home gardener!!!!? Maybe I ought to send some kudzu to Washington before they slap a $1,000.00 fine on me......

-- Annie (, March 27, 2002.

May I suggest that you actually go to the USDA website and read the entire document before contacting your representatives. You may find information that has a bearing that the J. L Hudson Seed site elected to not include on their "call to arms" request. Kudzu was a non indigenous plant brought to this country and now look at how its devestated portions of the South. Reviewing the total data will put you in a more knoweldgeble position when contacting your congressmen regarding this legislation.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, March 27, 2002.

Jay, wasn't kudzu introduced to the south by the government to control soil erosion? My point was that it wasn't a home gardener who brought this curse here.

-- Annie (, March 27, 2002.

This is very interesting...

Is this a false "call to arms" or is it legit?

I do not know much about plants.


-- Frankin (, March 27, 2002.

Here is a wonderful website on Kudzu.

Herbicides won't kill it but goats will, and produce lots of great milk along the way. The south just doesn't have enough goats (something my friend Julie and I are trying to solve as rapidly as possible LOL). Annie's right it sure wasn't home gardeners running around planting Kudzu for erosian control. If it had been Kudzu would never have gotten this far. When a unruly plant comes into my garden it becomes compost rather quickly.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, March 27, 2002.

Ever tried Kudzu jelly? ;o) I think that before the dear gov starts in on gardeners they need to eradicate the tamarisk that has taken over our western water ways. Also, what are they going to do about the little birds that distribute seeds everywhere? Round them up and fine them? Or just send them to bird Jail?

-- kim in CO (, March 27, 2002.

hi little bit so that is the reason the dot was out on U.S. 81 today with a sign that said vehicles with nursery stock stop here. Was wondering what it was about now i know.gail akins okla.

-- gail akins (, March 27, 2002.

I'm kind of puzzled here. I would think these laws are to keep un native plants that are a problem to people ,livestock and enviorment.Like kudzu , Mamosa trees or other trees , plants and weeds that are competing with native plants and taking over.If laws were in affect that resticted transportaion of seeds ,trees and plants 50 or more years ago, the pine trees all over the south east wouldn't be dieing off like they have the tree plauge.It's said that the pine beetle responsible was imported from Germany from imported pine trees brought to the U.S. from there.The Melaluca tree brought from Austrailia is spreading through the everglades in Florida and sucking the everglades dry, changing the envioriment there and costing alot of money and energy to TRY to get rid of them.Kudzu from Japan,which I like cause it feeds my goats all summer , is a vine that kills trees by keeping them from getting light and causes people to spray lots of weed killer that ends up in the water table and in our wells. And the Japaneese beetle that strip our fruit trees of leaves in the summer might not be an un wanted guest in the U.S. if laws were resticting plant and seed materials years ago .What harm will this law on the mentioned web site do? Is it ment to keep us from getting seeds we need for growing food and medicine? Someone please explain the harm it will cause.

-- SM Steve (, March 28, 2002.


The USDA document that the Hudson Seeds sites references can be found in its entirety at . My concern was that the site was quoting excerpts from only a few of the pages of the whole report. Many times I have found myself inclined to write a congressman only to discover that I overlooked some very important facts before committing myself to action.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, March 28, 2002.

Ok, let's list the problems with this kind of gardening interference by the USDA. 1)The world is full of beneficial plants. There are probably millions of as yet undiscovered resources that our government is about to outlaw. We are talking not only medicines, but also natural pest controls, better and cheaper sweeteners, new and unexplored resins. People, this is not just about Kudzu and Melalueca(both of which have their own wonderful benefits by the way). 2) Many of the plants that you eat today are importations from other countries. Try plums, apples, cabbage, potatoes etc. This law would stop the exchange of new nutritional components into our diets. 3)Many of the America's natural plant life has been exported to other countries and is now providing. What would the world do without our corn, peppers, tomatoes, squash etc. 4) The cure for cancer may be out there growing in a rain forest somewhere as yet undiscovered. Do you realize this kind of law could prevent it's discovery? There is not a single plant growing in this country right now that doesn't have some value. Some plants are food, some are forage for livestock, some are medicine, some are just good for people to get some exercise hoeing. Many plants are wonderful for taking up particular micro-minerals. Some nutrients maybe haven't even been discovered yet.

This is a stupid law. The world is about change. There is no law that says the everglades are always going to stay the everglades!!! The earth adapts and changes as the climate and conditions for change happen. You don't run out in you yard after it rains and call the latest puddle a national park and expect it never to dry up. A hundred years ago the land around me was just open prairie, now there are acres and acres of hardwood forest where their used to be just grass. Is one better than the other? No they both have their purpose for their time. I love the woodlands here. Face it people someday there may finally be a catastrophic explosion at Yosemite and what you think looks beautiful today maybe nothing but a big lava flow. Anyone Ever heard of Mammoth lake. Surely all you gardeners can see that we cannot control our environment, only manage what we are given. The government itself started the spread of kudzu. Yet we are going to turn all the plant life of the Us and the world over to them? Give me a break! Kudzu is not decimating the South. It is changing the south. As the earth changes we must change with it! As the earth changes farmers must farm different. This whole law is about one thing and one thing only. Big government/corporate farming!!! This law is because the big machine does not want to change habits. Some day go out in your yard and find a waste place with weeds(everyone has one). Just count the species in a square foot of ground. Each of those species is full of potential that we haven't even remotely explored. Gardeners everywhere over thousands of year have cultivated and nurtured new and exotic plants. If they hadn't been able to there would have been great losses to all of humanity. No legislation can stop the importation of new plants. This legislation can't even be practically enforced within the bounds of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights. This legislation is wrong and will prevent seed companies from bringing you new and better food.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (, March 30, 2002.

Do you think this has anything to do with the possibility that all this genetic research and gene splicing has gotten out of control and the government is trying to keep people from finding out? Maybe there are dangerous mutations they are trying to contain and don't want the public to know about because of the probability of panic.

-- Gayle in KY (, April 02, 2002.

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