USA: Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter Alert

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If you or your colleagues need information/expert interviews about the glassy-winged sharpshooter, please contact the California Association of Nurserymen. California's $7 billion nursery and landscaping industries employ 130,000 people. Nurseries are feeling a massive economic impact from this pest and we would like the opportunity to tell you about what our industry is doing to contain and control this pest.

Please contact the following individuals listed below.

Edelman Public Relations Worldwide

Tracy Fairchild 916/1442-2331 office, 916/835-9007 mobile
Jeremy Goulart 916/442-2331 office, 209/815-6828 mobile
Attention Television Media: B-Roll available upon request in Beta SP format and 3/4" format.

CDFA Emergency Order to Fight Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter

Step in Right Direction

But Nurseries Caution That Concerns Remain

The nursery industry, California's third-largest agricultural crop, today announced its support for California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) emergency regulations implemented this week promoting uniform standards to control the spread of the glassy-winged sharpshooter.

The emergency regulations require spraying of bulk grapes and ornamental plants, coupled with county agricultural commission staff inspections, before shipments may leave infested counties. Elaine Thompson, chief executive officer of the California Association of Nurserymen, stated that prior to these statewide standards, ordinances to control the pest were enacted at the county level. She added that these conflicting rules posed numerous obstacles to the efficient intrastate shipment of agricultural crops.

"The emergency regulations balance California's need to transport agricultural crops against the equally important goal of protecting uninfested farmlands from migration of the glassy-winged sharpshooter," said Thompson.

However, she cautioned, the $7 billion nursery industry still has several concerns, in particular whether county agricultural commissioners in infested counties have adequate staff to inspect thousands of weekly shipments. Thompson said that over 2,000 shipments of wholesale nursery stock are made per week and that most of these would require inspection. Grape harvests, which begin in August, will exacerbate manpower shortages.

"Nurseries need to be assured that if they perform their responsibilities with due diligence, their plant shipments will not encounter costly delays waiting for county inspections. This plague of a pest is already costing us millions of dollars in lost revenues."

Thompson also stated that CDFA's emergency regulations do not address shipments of out-of-state plants into California and stressed that the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a non-native species, was introduced into California through interstate shipments. "Stringent regulations are needed for both intrastate movement of nursery stock and out-of-state shipments," she said.

So far, Southern California's wholesale nurseries have felt the greatest economic pinch from the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Lost revenues to nurseries include:

  • Valley Crest Tree Company (Ventura, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties) $5 million loss in revenues

  • Boething Treeland (Ventura and Los Angeles Counties) $4-6 million in lost revenues

  • TY Nursery (Los Angeles County) $480,000 in lost revenues

  • Otto & Sons (Ventura County) $150,000 in direct costs.

Widespread economic costs are expected to increase throughout the summer, the glassy-winged sharpshooter's most active period, and eventually begin to impact Northern California retail nurseries which receive most of their stock from Southern California. There is a growing concern that these nurseries, fearful of possible infestation will refuse stock from infested counties, which will drive up their costs as they search for other, more distant suppliers.

"The nursery industry is alarmed by this pest's threat to California's grape and wine industry," said Chris Ono, general manager of Mitsuwa Nursery in Moorpark, Ventura County. "The entire agricultural community must do everything possible to protect them -- but we must not destroy one industry to protect another. Remember that the state's nursery industry employs over 130,000 Californians and has a direct economic impact on other industries, including landscaping and commercial gardeners."

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