CDFA nursery advisory board report Fall 2016
by James Bethke and Loren Oki
CDFA NURSERY ADVISORY BOARD REPORT
On Wednesday September 14, we convened at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Building in Sacramento. There was a full agenda, which included a visit from California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross. We began with a roll call and introductions. The room was packed and the majority of the representation at the table was from San Diego County, including the County Ag Commissioner, the San Diego Farm Bureau Executive Director, numerous owners and myself. Updates included the following topics: medical cannabis, State Interior Quarantines and the PD/GWSS program. There was also an introduction to the “Systems Approach to Nursery Certification” and a business meeting.
Amber Morris is now in charge of the Cannabis Cultivation Program at CDFA. Amber gave us an update on the new provisions being instituted at CDFA concerning cannabis. There will be six different license types: one from the CDFA concerning nurseries and cultivation, four from the Department of Consumer Affairs, and one from the Department of Public health. Each cultivated plant will be tagged and tracked, but the industry is requesting that the tracking be by area and not by plant. There will likely be tracking of plant parts from individual plants as well. The nursery industry was surveyed for input into the seven CDFA goals located at the following web site: cdfa.ca.gov/is/mccp. One thing was made clear; nurseries must sell to a distributor not to the public. There is a lot of information on that web page, so if you are interested, please check out the site. However, just remember that the University of California will not be assisting growers of cannabis in any way. We are federally funded and the feds still consider cannabis a Schedule I drug.
At this point in the meeting, we were interrupted by a visit from Secretary Ross. It was a great discussion with her, but the only thing I think is worth reporting was that she was clearly distressed by the unfair way agriculture is being treated in the state legislature and that the media is playing along. She explained that the environmental justice and civil rights groups are in their prime and are well represented at the statehouse.
Concerning quarantine efforts updates, the glassy-winged sharpshooter program has been documenting excellent success. An update on the HLB/ACP state interior quarantines was provided: HLB has been detected in Mexicali, which means the inevitable is here. There are presently no fruit fly quarantines. Twist ties will no longer be used in LBAM quarantines because the CDFA has moved from an eradication effort to a control program. The Japanese beetles are still under eradication just outside the Sacramento area. However, there is an effort to stop pesticide treatments by concerned citizens. Activists have gathered in treatment areas so that applications cannot be made. Establishment of the Japanese beetle in California would make it difficult on shipping nurseries.
David Cox from LE Cooke updated us on the Systems Approach for Nursery Certification (SANC) Program. There was nothing really new to report at this time. There are eight nurseries in the pilot program and completion of phase one should be complete by the end of 2016. The Nursery Advisory Board made a motion to make sure that a nursery from California was included in the pilot program, and that motion passed.
Loren Oki and I will keep you up to date on information from future Nursery Advisory Board meetings.
James A. Bethke is County Director and Farm Advisor for Nurseries and Floriculture, UC Cooperative Extension, San Diego and Riverside Counties, and Loren Oki is UC Cooperative Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis.