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San Diego Farmers Wait On Possible Quarantine

No More Light Brown Apple Moths Found

Audio

San Diego County farmers are waiting to find out when a federal quarantine takes effect due to an invasive pest. The Light Brown Apple Moth is a potential threat to the county's multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry.

San Diego County farmers are waiting to find out when a federal quarantine takes effect due to an invasive pest. The Light Brown Apple Moth is a potential threat to the county's multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry.

The Light Brown Apple Moth feeds on leaves and fruit, and in some cases burrows inside fruit. It has the potential to devastate nursery crops, fruits and vegetables.

Nurseries account for $1 billion -- or two-thirds -- of San Diego County's agricultural industry.

Several of the moths were discovered last month in a couple of areas of the county.

"The good news on the Light Brown Apple Moth is that they haven't discovered any more apparently than the original six," said Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. "The bad news, and we're kind of waiting for that shoe to drop, is when the federal quarantine will be laid on San Diego County."

Larson said the quarantine could begin in the next few weeks.

"When that happens all the growers will be subject to inspections and they'll have to get that done in a timely manner," said Larson.

One county nursery grower is concerned there may not be enough inspectors for the thousands of farms needing to be checked.

A quarantine means farmers will not be able to ship flowers or produce until their operations are found to be free of the pest.

Delays could spoil crops and hurt both farmers and the county's economy.

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