The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) recently announced the launch of the State National Harmonization Program (SNHP) for seed potatoes. This program is a collaborative effort between APHIS, the National Potato Council, the United States Potato Board, the National Plant Board, and state seed certification agencies.
The intent of the SNHP partnership between State and Federal agencies is to allow the partners to improve trade and also to deal with future potato pest issues in a coordinated fashion. Each participating State agrees to follow baseline standards regarding both quarantine and non-quarantine potato pests, creating a framework in which interstate and international commerce can be facilitated.
Nearly all of U.S. seed potato production falls under the newly launched program’s guidelines. Currently, twelve States participate in the program, covering 98.5% of all U.S. seed potato acreage: Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. New York, California, and Alaska are in the process of completing the requirements for entry into the program. Three non-seed potato producing states – Alabama, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – have also signed onto the program in an effort to demonstrate to trading partners that their potato industries are following best practices by using seed potatoes that are produced through this program.
The new program was first discussed at a 2002 potato summit, where growers, government officials, and industry representatives proposed the idea to harmonize requirements. At the time, state certification requirements for seed potato production varied from state-to-state and each State had to negotiate their own market access based on their individual certification standards. To read the full press release, click here.