“The psyllid quarantine is necessary to maintain trade for the export of commercial citrus fruit,” McGrew told the crowd. “It is also necessary to minimize potential pest expansion through pathways, maintain a small quarantine footprint, and minimize the impact to industry outside of the quarantine area.”
Loghry says the psyllid has not been found at Sunset Nursery. The closest find was four miles away.
“The psyllid itself is not a problem,” Loghry said. “The problem is the regulation that comes along with it. We’ve been virtually shut down by the state and federal governments.”
Loghry is critical of the one-size-fits-all quarantine requirements for citrus nurseries in states where the psyllid, HLB, or both are found.
“The quarantine needs to be made flexible to fit the situation,” Loghry said. “The quarantine needs to be flexible so we can follow the rules and continue doing business.”
Sunset Nursery has laid off 80 percent of its workforce due to decreased sales. The remaining employees are constructing a screenhouse to serve as a product finishing house. A greenhouse built last year serves as the propagation house. Both are designed to protect against the psyllid, plus other insects and diseases.
Between lost sales and the first screenhouse, the Loghrys have $1 million at stake in the psyllid.
The Loghrys have sold a few trees in quarantined areas in southern California, but it is a tight market, Alan acknowledges.
Several shipments were recently sent to Las Vegas, Nev., a non-citrus producing state, under strict shipping requirements. The plan was developed under a cooperative effort by Cheryl Goar of the Arizona Nursery Association; Arizona State Representative Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma; and Osama El-Lissy of USDA.
What happens to market-ready trees the Loghrys cannot sell?
“The trees cannot stay in pots or boxes forever,” Loghry explained. “We dig a big hole in an open area and throw the beautiful trees away. It’s very frustrating.”