04/06/10

AGRICULTURE PEST ALERT

A Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) has been discovered in Bonsall. If a second moth is found, then quarantine will be declared.

The LBAM feeds on more than 2,000 different types of native and ornamental plants and trees, and can attack more than 250 agricultural crops including food systems. The presence of this pest is great concern for growers, especially as Mother’s Day is normally a huge day for flower sales.

North County Supervisor Bill Horn said, “Agriculture represents the fifth most important part of our region’s economy, so any threat to growers is serious and I’m pleased with how our County Agriculture, Weights and Measures Department and Farm Bureau are responding.”

To assist growers in preparing for quarantine, the County Agriculture, Weights and Measures Department offers a pre-quarantine inspection. This helps growers avoid the 2-week delays that would occur if the quarantine trigger was reached. While this is not mandated; the inspection is a type of insurance policy and a way our County team is helping the ag community.

Growers can call to request the pre-quarantine inspection service. Our people are doing their best; however the current wait time for service is more than three weeks. Growers who want to get on the list should call the San Marcos County Ag office at 760-752-4700 M-F, 8 AM to 4 PM and say you want to be added to the LBAM pre-quarantine inspection list. For email contact: phpp.awm@sdcounty.ca.gov and put LBAM Pre-Quarantine in the subject line. Growers should include locations of sites that need to be inspected, total acreage, commodity and contact information.

In the event of a quarantine, fruit can be inspected after it is harvested, a much less intensive or costly effort than inspecting an entire farm. The more serious threat is to nursery and floral producers who would be unable to ship without an inspection.

While eradication measures are underway, Agriculture, Weights and Measures personnel are working with the San Diego County Farm Bureau to enlist additional help from a company to provide inspectors.