Division of Plant Industries

The Plant Industries Division is responsible for: the registration and inspection of commercial feed, fertilizer and soil and plant amendments, export certification, pest exclusion, control of grasshoppers and Mormon crickets, prevention and control of noxious weeds and invasive species, and the oversight of the Idaho Food Quality Assurance Laboratory. The division had 51 full-time and 48 seasonal temporary employees in 2009.

Consumer Protection

In 2009, the division issued 1,926 nursery licenses; 637 seed dealer’s licenses; 1,192 registration certificates for 13,776 feed products; 669 registration certificates for 5,00 9 fertilizer products; 242 registration certificates for 1,074 soil and plant amendment products; and 82 beekeeper registrations. Division inspectors randomly sample to test for compliance to truth-in-labeling for pet food, animal feed, fertilizers, and seeds offered for sale. The laboratories conducted 3,958 tests on feed samples; 1,036 tests on fertilizer samples; and 5,370 tests on seed samples. Inspectors also conducted 1,349 nursery inspections for pests, diseases and noxious weeds. Through this program, the sale of animal feed products contaminated with aflatoxin, fumonosin or vomitoxin have been prevented. In addition, these measures have prevented the spread of noxious weeds by stopping the sale of contaminated seed lots.

Invasive Plant Pest Surveys and Grasshopper Suppression Program

Grape Mealybugs The most important goal of this program is the early detection of invasive or exotic plant pests. Each year this division conducts surveys on high priority invasive threats to the Gem state. Early detection allows for possible eradication, limiting spread and development of appropriate Integrated Pest Management technologies to mitigate a pest’s negative environmental and economic impact to the state. This year’s surveys were conducted for apple maggot, gypsy moth, light brown apple moth, European grapevine moth, vine mealybug, Japanese beetle and exotic nematodes including potato cyst nematode. This program also provides data to meet the phytosanitary requirements for a number of countries and states, and validates Idaho quarantines. In 2009, no adult Japanese beetles were caught in detection traps although ISDA is watching a serious infestation of the pest in Orem, Utah. In 2009 a single European gypsy moth was captured in a pheromone trap near Rexburg, Idaho. The statewide gypsy moth survey, a cooperative effort with Idaho Department of Lands and the U.S. Forest Service, will carry out a delimitation survey in the Rexburg area in 2010.

Cricket GraphSoutheast, southwest and northern Idaho experienced major grasshopper outbreaks in 2009. Damage to hayfields, pastures, rangeland, gardens and landscape plants were observed throughout these areas. The southeast and southwest infestations were a mixture of Melanoplus sanguinipes, M. femurrubrum, Aulocara elliotti and Camnula pellucida grasshopper species. New infestations were found further north in Kootenai, Benewah and Latah Counties and was dominated by the Camnula pellucida grasshopper. The late summer and fall season should have allowed exceptional oviposition opportunities, and there are currently no factors that would indicate any reason to expect major decreases in overall grasshopper populations in 2010. The Mormon cricket, Anabrus simplex, outbreak continued to decline in 2009 compared to 2007 and 2008. The Owyhee County infestation was similar to 2008 while infestations were limited in Adams and Washington Counties and continued to occur in Oneida, Power and Bannock Counties. Control activities have decreased for the second year in a row with fewer calls for assistance on Mormon cricket infestations.

Progress was made in 2009 on the eradication of Potato Cyst Nematode(PCN) in Idaho. Several thousand acres of associated fields have been released from regulated status. No additional PCN infested fields have been detected to date beyond the initial nine fields and 1,100 acres. Since the initial detection of PCN in April of 2006, more than 190,000 soil samples have been collected and analyzed to support Idaho’s freedom from PCN. Multi-faceted eradication efforts are in progress with the centerpiece being soil fumigation of the fields with methyl bromide and Telone®. Treatments have been effective in reducing nematode populations and cyst viability. The cooperating agencies are cautiously optimistic that the eradication efforts will be successful.

Export Certification

Idaho is a major producer of agricultural seeds. In 2009, Idaho exported over 283 million pounds of alfalfa, field and garden beans, sweet corn, Kentucky bluegrass, peas, onion seeds, and miscellaneous agricultural products to 84 countries. The division’s staff inspected 72,184 acres of crops; the plant pathology laboratory conducted 3,063 tests on 1,106 plant samples for diseases; and the division issued 437 state and 4,610 federal phytosanitary certificates. The division continues to work to overcome phytosanitary trade barriers, which restrict the export of Idaho agricultural products.

Noxious Weeds Program

Milfoil Tangled in Boat Prop The Noxious Weeds Program has the primary responsibility for implementing the Idaho Noxious Weed Law and Idaho’s Strategic Plan for Managing Noxious Weeds. Staff provides leadership, training and support to local Cooperative Weed Mana gement Areas (CWMAs) around the state. The 2009 Cost Share Pro gram provided over $ 2.2 million in grants to CWMAs and statewide groups to implement on-the- ground inte grated weed mana gement. The program applicants matched the cost share dollars with over $ 7.5 million , treating over 250,000 acres and mappin g over 1.0 million acres. Other pro grams administered by the staff include the Noxious Weed-Free Forage and Straw Program and the Noxious Weeds Mapping and Inventory Program.

The Eurasian Watermilfoil Control Program funded 12 projects and completed control of more than 1,200 surface acres of milfoil in Idaho lakes last year. Focus of the projects was eradication. Control methods used were aquatic herbicide applications, bottom barriers, diver assisted vacuum-hand removal, boat wash stations as well as education and prevention programs for the public.

The Idaho Invasive Species Law was enacted by the Legislature in 2008. The intent of this law is to address the increasing threat of invasive species in the State of Idaho by providing policy direction, planning and authority to combat invasive species infestations and to prevent the introduction of new invasive species. This law establishes the duties of ISDA, authorizes the director to promulgate rules and gives authority to conduct inspections as necessary.

Recent Achievements

  • Initiated an eradication program for Hydrilla in Owyhee County.
  • Initiated a statewide Early Detection Rapid Response network with IDFG and Idaho Power.
  • Conducted boater decontamination trainings for aquatic nuisance species to state, federal and local agency personnel.
  • Cooperated with USDA trace forward inspections on Idaho potato growers who may have received nematode infested seed potatoes from infested farms in Alberta, Canada.
  • Cooperated with USDA trace forward inspections of nurseries who received nursery stock infested with Sudden Oak Death.
  • The Fertilizer lab increased their ability to process samples for heavy metal contamination.

Future Goals

  • Continue the state and federal Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) in Idaho.
  • Conduct commodity based exotic pest surveys for grape and corn.
  • Cooperate with USDA to eradicate the potato cyst nematode from the state.
  • Develop a paperless inspection, sampling and registration system.
  • Cooperate with the 100 th Meridian Initiative and participate in Quagga Mussel Rapid Response exercise for the Columbia River Basin.
  • Expand surveys for aquatic nuisance species in geothermal areas of the state.


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