USDA’s Suspension of the Canker Eradication Program

This morning I participated in a conference call on the USDA’s suspension of the Canker eradication program. Attached is the letter from USDA regarding the same. This is now evolving into a management plan with only infected trees being removed and possibly a small buffer, but nothing certain on that now.

The new program should be ready to be rolled out by IFAS (UF) and APHIS (USDA) representatives within two weeks. This will involve a set of best management practices (BMP’S) for the industry, self reporting and policing of new finds and removal of diseased trees by USDA. Numerous questions were raised (too numerous to list here), but there were very few answers.

The one comment that did resonate through the conference call was that the USDA and the Administration were committed to fully funding the eradication efforts to date and that if trees were pulled and burned the grower would be compensated. Having said that, however, as we know, a $400M to 800M budget item is not a given in the current tight fiscal environment, so the best we can do for our clients is to make sure they have taken all prudent steps to protect their claim for compensation. See attached memo addressing the steps we recommend.

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