WSR 06-23-112

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed November 17, 2006, 10:29 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 16-324 WAC, Rules for the certification of seed potatoes, the department is considering revising the current seed potato certification rules to require compliance with the state national harmonization program for seed potatoes (SNHP).

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 15.14 and 34.05 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: SNHP is a national standard for seed potato certification. When implemented, the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) will require seed potatoes moving interstate to comply with SNHP. Because much of the Washington seed potato crop is sold to other states, it is important for Washington to be in compliance with the SNHP once it is implemented. To comply with the SNHP, the seed potato certification rules must be revised, most importantly to require post harvest testing on lots sold for recertification. Revising the seed potato certification rule would allow seed potato growers to continue selling their seed potatoes to growers in other states.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.

Process for Developing New Rule: Department staff will discuss any proposed amendments with affected stakeholders. Affected stakeholders will also have an opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rules during the public comment period and will be able to present oral testimony at the public hearing.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Mary A. Martin Toohey, Assistant Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1907, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail mtoohey@agr.wa.gov; or Tom Wessels, Program Manager, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1984, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail twessels@agr.wa.gov.

November 14, 2006

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office