NYSNLA Advocacy Committee sent representation to a meeting with Chris Logue of Ag & Markets and Dave Adams of DEC to discuss the Invasives Regulation on December 2, 2014 in Albany.

In attendance: Holly Cargill-Cramer, NYSNLA President Jerry Parmenter, Past President Jim Presutti, Dwight Andrews (R1), Heidi Mortensen (Prides Corner Farms)

The Advocacy Committee held a teleconference meeting on December 9 to discuss the labeling issue, the Dec 2 meeting with the DEC and Ag & Markets, and the process to remove cultivars of banned and regulated plants from the regulation.

In attendance: Holly Cargill-Cramer, Melissa Daniels (R1), Carol Saporito (R1), Bob Smith (R6) Dave Ryan (R4)
The Committee had a conference call meeting on February 19 to discuss strategy and formulate a plan to start submitting cultivars for exemption from the banned list of the Regulation.

In attendance: Melissa Daniels (R1), Eric Gee (R6), Carol Saporito (R1), Dale Tuttle (R4), Heidi Mortensen, Dave Ryan (R4), Holly Cargill-Cramer, Jan Jansen (R8), Bob Smith (R6), Mike Grimm (R4)

Representatives of NYSNLA and Prides Corner Farms in Connecticut met with Ag & Markets and the DEC to discuss the newly published REGULATIONS ON INVASIVE SPECIES (6 NYCRR Part 575) which will go into effect on March 10, 2015.

In an attempt to be proactive in compliance with the new regulations, the Advocacy Committee devised a label template for the regulated species in the legislation and submitted it for approval. Beginning March 10, 2015 all the species listed as regulated in the law must be labeled according to the parameters outlined in the regulation with 14 point bold type INVASIVE SPECIES, etc. The label template devised by the NYSNLA Advocacy Committee that was submitted has been approved as conforming to the regulation. Templates are available to NYSNLA members for their use.

The NYSNLA representatives also sought clarification on the process to get cultivars removed from the banned list. A cultivar exemption protocol and form has been finalized and was reviewed by the Advocacy Committee.

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING PLANT CULTIVARS HAVE ALREADY BEEN EVALUATED AND UPON PUBLICATION IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL NOTICE BULLETIN WILL BE DEEMED CONDITIONALLY EXEMPT:

Berberis thunbergii Aurea
Miscanthus sinensus My Fair Maiden
Euonymus fortunei Kewensis
Euonymus fortunei Vanilla Frosting

This is the beginning of a published list of exempt cultivars that will appear on the DEC website.

The Advocacy Committee plans to take steps to start the process of submitting other plants for cultivar exemption wherever possible as soon as we gather enough supporting documentation to do so.

The Committee asks that any member that has a desire to get a cultivar removed from the list please contact the NYSNLA office or the Advocacy Committee with any information they have that could support removing that plant from the list. Most importantly, there needs to be scientific evidence of the sterility or non-invasive characteristics of the cultivar as opposed to the strict genus species plant on the banned list. The Committee is working with plant breeders like Proven Winners to get supporting research to start the submission process. Proven Winners has research they can share for a sterile cultivar of Rhamnus. They are working on several barberry cultivars and will share this with us when it is ready.

Please note that Berberis thunbergii has a one year grace period for the prohibition until March of 2016. IT IS NOT REQUIRED TO LABEL THESE PLANTS AS INVASIVE FOR THE GRACE PERIOD.

There are concerns across the membership that the one-year grace period for the banned Berberis thunbergii is not long enough to clear through inventory, considering that average production time is 3-years for this plant. The committee would like to gather economic impact information from the membership in an effort to make a plea to the DEC to extend this grace period until March of 2018 to allow growers enough time to move through existing inventory.

The Committee received approval from the NYSNLA Board to take the following action:

Create a campaign to reach out to all members and ask them to share (anonymously) the financial impact of the remaining inventory they will not be able to sell after the grace period ends. We would collate this information to present the DEC with a state-wide $$$ amount to make an argument for granting an extension to the grace period. The argument will also be made that the conditionally exempt barberries on the list will not be available in sufficient numbers for replacement sales for several years and barberry holds a unique sales appeal as a deer resistant plant.