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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 00-1326


Plum Pox Virus Commercial Orchard Fruit Tree Indemnity Program

[30 Pa.B. 4014]

   The Department of Agriculture (Department) hereby gives notice of the procedures and requirements under which it will award grants under the Plum Pox Virus Commercial Orchard Fruit Tree Indemnity Program (Program). In summary, the Program is intended to provide commercial stone fruit producers reimbursement for 15% of the losses they will sustain as a result of the destruction of peach trees, nectarine trees and other stone fruit trees as part of the Department's Plum Pox Virus (PPV) eradication effort. The Program complements a forthcoming initiative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reimburse commercial stone fruit producers for 85% of these losses. As described within this notice, the formula under which payments will be made under the Program is identical to the formula to be employed by USDA in making its payments. This notice restates statutory authority and provides background information.


   Section 208 of the General Appropriation Act of 2000 (act of May 24, 2000) (P. L. ______ , No. 21A) appropriates the sum of $3,100,000 to the Department for fruit tree indemnity payments relating to PPV.


   PPV, a plant pest indigenous to Europe, is a serious plant pest that injures and damages stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots by drastically reducing the fruit yields from these stone fruit trees and by disfiguring the fruit to the point it is unmarketable. PPV has been detected on stone fruit trees located in Latimore, Huntington, Tyrone and Menallen Townships (Adams County), and in South Middleton Township (Cumberland County). PPV has the potential to cause serious damage to the stone fruit production and stone fruit nursery industries within this Commonwealth. PPV is transmitted from infected trees by aphids and by budding or grafting with PPV-infected plant material.

   The Department has used its authority under the Plant Pest Act (3 P. S. §§ 258.1--258.27) to establish a quarantine with respect to the townships where PPV has been detected. Quarantine orders were published at 29 Pa.B. 5735 (November 6, 1999) and 30 Pa.B. 3269 (July 1, 2000), and may be revised in the future as the Department's effort to contain and eradicate this plant pest moves forward. The quarantine orders prohibit the movement of stone fruit trees and stone fruit budwood within the quarantined areas, and prohibit the movement of stone fruit trees and stone fruit budwood out of the quarantined areas.

   There is no known control for PPV other than the destruction of infected trees and the aphids that can carry the disease. The Program is intended to implement the Department's statutory authority to compensate fruit tree owners for a portion of the losses they will experience as a result of having to destroy stone fruit trees at the order of this Department.

   The Department has, with the assistance of agricultural economists from the Pennsylvania State University, worked with the United States Department of Agriculture to develop a PPV loss reimbursement formula that is acceptable to both the Department and USDA and that reasonably reflects the losses a commercial stone fruit producer would sustain with respect to stone fruit acreage destroyed to combat PPV. In summary, this formula considers the age of the trees being destroyed, the fact that the grower would not be permitted to replant stone fruit trees for at least 3 years after the destruction of the trees, the expected lifetime income from the trees and the expected costs of producing stone fruit crops from the trees production, and then discounts that sum (by a rate of 12.5%) to its net present value. Under this formula, the net present value of return per-acre of stone fruit is as follows:

Age ofNet PresentAge ofNet Present
1 $ 5,654 14 $14,146
2 $ 8,698 15 $13,366
3 $11,093 16 $12,490
4 $14,433 17 $11,593
5 $17,065 18 $10,675
6 $17,551 19 $  9,731
7 $17,647 20 $  8,760
8 $17,305 21 $  7,758
9 $16,921 22 $  6,810
10 $16,488 23 $  5,924
11 $16,002 24 $  5,107
12 $15,454 25 $  4,368
13 $14,838

   The Program will employ a grant application form to distribute grant funds. This procedure is substantively identical to that employed by the Department in awarding grants under its Commercial Orchard and Fruit Tree Nursery Indemnity Program (30 Pa.B. 48 (January 1, 2000)), a related program that reimburses certain individuals for costs of removing infected trees or applying pesticides or herbicides at the order of the Department.


   A person who is a commercial stone fruit producer is eligible to apply for a grant under the Program.


   A person who wishes to apply for a grant under the Program may download an application form from the Department's website: The Department will also provide grant application forms upon request telephoned to the Department's Bureau of Plant Industry, at (717) 772-5203, or upon written request to the following address: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, ATTN: Bureau of Plant Industry, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408.

   An application for a grant under the Program will require the following information of an applicant:

   1.  The name and address of the applicant.

   2.  Verification that the applicant is a commercial stone fruit producer.

   3.  A description of the location of the stone fruit orchard with respect to which a grant is sought.

   4.  Verification that the stone fruit orchard with respect to which a grant is sought was ordered destroyed by order of the Department or the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA-APHIS-PPQ), for purposes of controlling or containing PPV.

   5.  Verification that, prior to the destruction of the orchard, the applicant and the Department conducted a physical inspection of the orchard to assess the acreage, by age, of the stone fruit trees contained therein, and had agreed upon this acreage (to the tenth-of-an-acre or smaller portion of an acre), in writing.

   6.  A breakdown of the total acreage of the stone fruit orchard, by age of trees, with the acreage for each age of tree expressed to the tenth-of-an-acre or smaller portion of an acre.

   7.  Verification that the stone fruit orchard was, in fact, destroyed in accordance with the order of the Department or the USDA-APHIS-PPQ.

   8.  A signature acknowledging that representations made in the application are true, and further acknowledging that the criminal punishments and penalties of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) apply to any false statement made in the application.

   An applicant shall submit a complete application form to the Department at the mailing address set forth earlier in this section.

Review of Applications

   The Department will review and approve or disapprove any complete, timely grant application within 30 days of receipt. The Department will stamp or otherwise identify each grant application to record the date and the order in which these applications are received. The Department will consider grant applications in the order they are received. The Department will approve a grant application if all of the following criteria are met:

   1.  The application is complete and provides the Department all the information necessary to a reasoned review of the document.

   2.  There are sufficient unencumbered funds available from the $3,100,000 appropriation contained in the Appropriation Act of 2000 to fund the grant amount sought in the reimbursement grant application.

Notice of Decision

   The Department will, within 10 days of completing its review, mail a grant applicant written notice as to whether the grant application is approved. If the application is not approved, the written notice will specify the basis for disapproval.

Expiration of Appropriation

   Any portion of the $3,100,000 appropriation funding the Program that is not used by June 30, 2001 shall lapse into the General Fund. If a grant application is not approved by the Department by that date, it shall be disapproved on the basis that funding has lapsed.

No Right or Entitlement to Funds

   The appropriation of funds under the Appropriation Act of 2000 does not create in any person a right or entitlement to a grant from these funds. Departmental approval of a grant application is the event that establishes entitlement of the applicant to the grant funds sought, provided appropriated funds are available in an amount adequate to fund the grant.

Additional Information

   Further information may be obtained by contacting the Department of Agriculture, Attn: Lyle B. Forer, Director, Bureau of Plant Industry, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 772-5203.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 00-1326. Filed for public inspection August 4, 2000, 9:00 a.m.]

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