Pale cyst nematodes on potatoes. ( Courtesy Florida Dept. Ag and Consumer Services )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reopened a public comment period on changes to regulations of pale cyst nematode-infested areas.

Pale cyst nematodes (PCN) affect potato crops. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service took initial comments twice in 2019, and is accepting comments until July 6 “on the science supporting the protocols, including the sources of the methods informing their content,” according to a USDA news release.

PCN was discovered in Idaho in 2006. APHIS issued a temporary rule establishing a quarantine and restricted interstate movement of potatoes and other regulated articles from those areas, according to the release. The rule includes a 3-year “bioassay protocol” allowing infested fields from the quarantine; a final rule in 2009 included that protocol, but did not “preclude the use of other protocols for determining when an infested field could be removed from the quarantine,” according to the release.

The agency said it would continue to “solicit stakeholder input” on the protocol to remove fields from quarantine.

Comments are being accepted online at regulations.gov.

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