Friday, June 5, 2015

What needs to be inspected by the Hawaii or US Departments of Agriculture and what doesn't - and shipping delays

I posted some of this on Facebook (it's public, you don't have to be on Facebook to read it), but I thought I might make it available to a wider audience.
I'll be trying this being away thing again next week, so if you're ordering anything that needs to go through ag inspection after today/yesterday early morning it will be delayed until next week Friday or possibly the Monday after. I can get orders out that don't need to be inspected through Sunday morning (going out Monday) and may be able to throughout (and I'll try to delete this part after I get back as well as that part of the title).

What needs to be inspected and what doesn't:

I just realized that it may not be clear what needs to be inspected and what doesn't. Obviously plant seeds need to be inspected, including Job's Tears and mgambo seeds, even if they're drilled - when going to most places, see below. I have been meaning to call the USDA whether mgambo seeds still need to be inspected if they are temporarily strung but haven't gotten around to that yet, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture guys told me that I'd have to ask the USDA - because: jewelry made with any of these seeds doesn't have to be inspected (neither does jewelry made with Job's Tears but I won't string those in the amounts that I sell by just to get around ag inspection, so please don't ask). Some seeds cannot be shipped to some states (e.g. citrus seeds cannot be shipped to Florida, though Florida is generally pretty open in what can be sent there). Orders to Puerto Rico require a phyto. This phyto is issued by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and is free but requires extra paperwork (and an extra day in most cases).

Non-propagative seeds (e.g. drilled mgambo seeds or Job's Tears) don't have to be inspected if they are staying within Hawaii. Coffee seeds cannot be shipped to destinations in Hawaii.

Orders going to Canada also don't have to be inspected here - but Canadian customs/inspection will make sure that you're not getting anything that may become invasive in Canada. As that's rather unlikely for tropical plants those seeds usually go through (I have never experienced a problem there - other than that clove seeds got frozen and didn't survive.).

Orders going to the mainland have to be inspected by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and we have an inspection place in Hilo. They are open on weekdays only, and they are closed on State Holidays.

Orders going abroad (other than to Canada) have to be inspected by the US Department of Agriculture. Their inspection place relocated not too long ago and is much easier to get to (and the new facilities are much nicer), but they are also only open on weekdays, and they are closed on Federal Holidays. Small orders going to the EU don't require phytos and I usually don't have large orders. I don't ship to countries that require phytos for any seeds or inspection by entities approved by their government (e.g. Belize or Nigeria).

Not being a certified nursery (you won't believe the paperwork required for that) I cannot ship plants out of State, but I can ship within Hawaii, or could the last time I asked. Plants still have to be inspected (think little fire ants and the like. We do have them here, and you seriously don't want them), and as they're usually bulky the postage is going to be quite a bit.

Having written this, I know it contradicts the signs you see at the post offices. What they are saying is that you can't just put it in the mail, you have to comply with the inspection regulations before you do so.

State Agriculture inspection (for domestic orders) will be closed on Thursday, June 11, 2015 for Kamehameha Day.