WASHINGTON—Each year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists inspect millions of cut flower imports during the Valentine season because some of these flowers may carry hitchhiking pests and diseases that could harm the U.S. flower industry.
“Agriculture inspections are a crucial part of the inspection process for items entering into the country,” said Kevin Harriger, executive director for the CBP Agriculture Programs Trade and Liaison office. “CBP works to identify a relatively small number of harmful hitchhiking pests amongst the millions of stems entering the country because even a single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.”
One of the most serious diseases that can be introduced via imported flowers is chrysanthemum white rust. If established in the United States, the disease could decimate the U.S. chrysanthemum industry. Other agricultural pests and diseases capable of destroying our nation’s crops or forests include the Emerald ash borer, the Asian long-horned beetle, citrus canker, and the Khapra beetle.
During the 2012 Valentine’s season from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, CBP processed 842.2 million cut flower stems. Most of the cut flower shipments are imported from South America, primarily Colombia, with 536.1 million stems or 67 percent, followed by Ecuador with 194 million stems or 23 percent.
Miami ranks first among U.S. ports of entry for shipments of cut flower imports, followed by Los Angeles. The quantity of imported cut flowers processed by both ports during the 2012 Valentine’s season increased 5.7 percent compared to the 2011 season.
During the 2012 Valentine’s season:
CBP in Miami processed approximately 716.7 million stems or 85.1 percent of the total imported cut flowers nationally.
Approximately 516 million of cut flower stems imported from Colombia were processed in Miami, where the top cut flower imports are roses, mixed bouquets, and dianthus.
The imported cut flowers inspection process resulted in a total of 2,439 pest interceptions nationally. Miami intercepted 1,394 pests, followed by Los Angeles with 371 pests.
838 pests (34.4 percent) were intercepted from Colombia and 903 (37 percent) were intercepted from Ecuador.
The most common type of insects intercepted in these cut flower imports are Tetranychus sp. (mites), Aphididae (Aphids), Agromyzidae (Miner Flies) and Noctuidae (moths).
The top 10 ports of entry, by volume (number of stems), that processed shipments of cut flower imports for the 2012 Valentine’s season are:
LocationQuantity in Stems
FL Miami Air Cargo CBP716,735,319
CA Los Angeles CBP35,011,039
CA Otay Mesa CBP19,449,954
NY JFK Air Cargo CBP19,444,566
TX Laredo CBP Colombia18,618,113
IL Chicago CBP6,201,306
MA Boston CBP3,587,766
PR San Juan Air CBP3,306,025
TX Laredo CBP3,114,610
PR Aguadilla CBP1,794,641
Bob comes from a family farm background that consisted of row-crop production, and a small cow herd. After studying broadcasting in college, he started work in Extension Information and moved to commercial Farm Broadcasting. Bob also served as Head of Editorial at Data Transmission Network (DTN) where he helped develop an information service aimed at the California Dairy Industry. Today, Bob covers National Farm News, Farm Policy, and attends National Commodity Organization meetings and trade shows. Bob and his wife Ann also own a small farm. Email Bob Quinn
Graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications in 1977 after serving nearly six years in the U.S. Air Force. Doug's career in commercial farm broadcasting beganduring his last two years at ISU after interning with the University owned state-wide public radio station (WOI). He created original programming at radio stations in Spencer, Fort Dodge, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska before taking over as the Iowa State University Extension Director of Radio and Market News in 1990. Doug also produced news interviews and Internet audio reports. He retired from Iowa State in February 2010. Doug was active in ACE (then Ag Communicators in Education) during his Extension career and won several national awards for agricultural coverage. He and his wife Dianne and have a one daughter, Inger. Email Doug Cooper
Mark grew up with farming in his blood. His father and uncle farmed together during Mark's childhood and both of his grandfathers farmed. Mark studied radio broadcasting at Brown College in Mendota Heights, MN with his first job being an overnight shift on a country station. Mark has worn many hats in his broadcast career including Farm Director and Program Director. He's done sports play by play, assisted for several years in the news department, hosted a morning show and in 2006 became a full time farm broadcaster. In November 2012 Mark was recognized for his farm market reporting at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City by placing Second nationally in the NAFB Marketcast category. Mark and his wife Melissa have a little boy, Gavin, who can't seem to get enough of his toy tractors and Little People Farm Set. Email Mark Dorenkamp
With a degree in Agricultural Production from the University of Florida, Patrick Cavanaugh farmed table grapes in Casa Grande Arizona for three years. Shifting gears in 1985, he embarked on his career in agricultural journalism as an editor in Fresno, writing feature stories for several crop specific magazines. In 1994, Patrick launched Pacific Nut Producer magazine, which covers the tree nut industry in the West, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamias, and pecans. The magazine is highly respected and widely circulated. In 1996, he launched Vegetables West Magazine, which covers the vast vegetable industry in California. Since 2011, Patrick has been a daily radio broadcaster for many radio stations in California and Arizona. He has also been involved in agricultural TV broadcasting and web video reporting. Patrick began broadcasting on AgLife in Jan. 2014. Patrick and his wife Laurie Greene live in Clovis, Calif. They collaborate on California Ag Today, a daily blog. They also love going for walks with their beloved Golden Retriever. Together, they have seven children. Email Patrick Cavanaugh
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