The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to modify current plant importation regulations to further protect U.S. agriculture.

The proposal was published July 23 in The Federal Register.

The USDA will take comments through Oct. 21.

The proposal surrounds what's known as the Q37 regulation, which addresses importation of plants for planting.

As the rule stands, APHIS categorizes plant species as either prohibited or allowed under certain circumstances.

The proposal would create a new category that would only allow plants in after a risk assessment was completed. This mirrors current regulations that surround the importation of fruits and vegetables.

The risk assessment would look at whether the plant itself could become a quarantine pest or whether it may harbor other quarantine pests that could become established and pose a risk to U.S. agriculture.