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Subject 40-4-3 PRODUCTION OF CERTIFIED VEGETABLE PLANTS

Rule 40-4-3-.01 Definitions

The following words and terms are defined as follows for the purposes of this Chapter.

(a) Certified Plants: vegetable plants produced in accordance with the requirements of this Chapter.
(b) Commissioner: The Commissioner of Agriculture or any employee of the Georgia Department of Agriculture authorized to act on his behalf.
(c) Department: The Georgia Department of Agriculture.
(d) Department Address: Georgia Department of Agriculture, P. O. Box 114, Tifton, Georgia, 31794; Telephone # 229-386-3464; Fax # 229-386-7052.

Rule 40-4-3-.02 Application for Certification

(1) Applications may be obtained from the Department and must be filed by the grower with the Department at its Tifton address, on or before March 1 of the current year.
(2) No application will be approved for any grower having a balance due to the Department from a previous year.

Rule 40-4-3-.03 Certification Payments

(1) The fee for certification shall be described by the Commissioner in a schedule entitled Fees for Vegetable Transplant Certification issued July 1 of each year.
(2) All growers of certified plants shall, upon request, provide authorization to the Department to determine from County FSA Office records the acreage to be used for the production of certified plants.
(3) At least one half of the fee must be paid to the Department prior to issuance of any certificates. The remainder of the fee must be paid either when all certified plants have been pulled or at the time approval for certification is revoked.

Rule 40-4-3-.04 Land Eligibility

(1) All fields for production of certified plants must be inspected and approved by the Department and must meet the following requirements:
(a) Fields must not have been planted during the previous five years to soybeans nor within the previous three years to other crops susceptible to root-knot nematodes.
(b) All fields used for the production of certified transplants will be sampled and assayed each year to determine the presence of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines). Fields testing positive shall not be used for the production of certified plants.
(c) Fields for the production of certified tomato, pepper and cruciferous plants must not be planted to these same crops for the production of non-certified or plants nor for crop production within the previous two years. However, successive plantings of certified crops will be allowed until such fields are found not acceptable for the production of certified plants because of insects, disease, nematodes, or history of or proximity to infestation or infection.
(d) Fields for the production of certified cruciferous plants must not be located within 1/4 mile of any commercial cruciferous planting or on any land on which cruciferous crops have been produced or harvested within the previous twelve months.

Rule 40-4-3-.05 Planting

(1) A field shall consist of a planting of a single variety and lot number, distinctly separated by water lines, field roads, or the skipping of at least two planter rows.
(2) Every field must be staked at time of planting showing the name of the grower, field number, variety, lot number, source of seed, and acreage.
(3) Minimum distance between rows in the field shall be 12 inches for pepper and tomato plants.

Rule 40-4-3-.06 Treatment

A regular treatment schedule employing only those fungicides and insecticides registered with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and with the Department and approved by the Department for vegetable plant production must be followed from the time first true leaves appear until the plants are pulled. A suggested spray schedule may be obtained from the Department.

Rule 40-4-3-.07 Field Inspection

(1) Fields will be inspected by the Department at regular intervals for the presence of insects, insect injury, nematodes, disease, spray coverage, and general physical condition.
(2) Rejection of a field of plants for certification, based on the foregoing considerations, shall be left to the discretion of the inspector in charge.

Rule 40-4-3-.08 Clipping

Clipping will be allowed only on tomato and pepper plants. Such plants will be approved as certified only if they meet the following conditions as determined by the inspector in charge:

(a) First clipping shall be done when the majority of the plants in the field have reached a height of seven inches. Additional clippings will be permitted as necessary or desirable, provided that no more than one inch of material is removed at any clipping.
(b) Clipped plants shall be treated with a fungicide registered with the Department and approved by the Department for vegetable plant production immediately after clipping.
(c) Clipped plants shall not be pulled within three days of clipping, or until clipping scars have callused.

Rule 40-4-3-.09 Pulling

To be approved as certified, plants must be pulled and graded so that 80% of the plants per bundle or crate are first class. For the purpose of this Rule first class plants shall be visibly free of insects, insect injury, nematodes, and disease. In addition, for first class designation, tomato and pepper plants must have strong stems of at least 3/16 inch diameter and a height of 6-11 inches from the crown (soil line) to the terminal bud.

Rule 40-4-3-.10 Packing

(1) Packing containers or trays must be substantial enough to protect plants from physical damage and must be free of certification labels from previous use.
(2) Containers or trays must be packed in such a way that there is sufficient ventilation to prevent heating and there is no bruising of plants.

Rule 40-4-3-.11 Certificates

(1) Orders for certificates shall be filed with the Department at its Tifton address well in advance of plant movement. Orders approved by the Department will be forwarded to the printer, and the grower shall be fully responsible for payment of the printing costs.
(2) No certificates will be printed unless the printer is specifically authorized to do so by the Department.
(3) Certificates will be delivered to growers by the inspector in charge.
(4) Certificates shall be used only on first class plants from certified fields or greenhouses as applicable, whose identity shall have been maintained by tags or labels from the time of pulling to packing and shipping.
(5) A certificate showing the grower's name and code number issued by the Department must be conspicuously placed on each container of certified plants, and each container must be labeled to show the plant variety. Alternately, a certificate and label may be attached to the invoice or bill of lading.

Rule 40-4-3-.12 Revocation of Certification

(1) The Commissioner may deny or revoke approval of certification, and may recall outstanding certificates for cause, including but not limited to:
(a) any violation of these or other regulations of the Department,
(b) the use of certificates on any plants for which the Department either has not approved, has denied, or has revoked certification,
(c) infectious plant diseases, nematodes, injurious insects, or excessive insect damage,
(d) poor physical condition of plants,
(e) fields too grassy or weedy to afford a dependable inspection,
(f) the use of any labeling so worded as to be confused with an official certificate,
(g) failure to pay certification fees when due, or
(h) severe clipping.

Rule 40-4-3-.13 Transfer of Certified Plants

(1) Certified plants may be transferred between growers only when authorized by the inspector in charge.
(2) Certified plants transferred between growers shall be labeled to show the name of the shipper and the code number of the producer.

Rule 40-4-3-.14 Greenhouse Grown Plants

(1) Greenhouse grown plants are defined as plants which are grown under cover in a horticultural growing medium where light, temperature, moisture, and plant nutrients may be controlled for the purpose of producing more uniform plants.
(2) Greenhouse grown plants shall be treated as required in 40-4-3-.06.
(3) First class greenhouse grown plants shall be those which are 4 1/2 - 7 1/2 inches in height, measured from crown (soil line) to terminal bud, free of insects, nematodes, and diseases, in good physical condition, and of such maturity to withstand transplanting shock as determined by the inspector in charge.
(4) Certificates will be provided in accordance with 40-4-3-11.
(5) Revocation of approval of certification shall be subject to the requirements of 40-4-3-.12.
(6) The fee shall be described by the Commissioner in a schedule entitled Fees for Vegetable Transplant Certification issued July 1 of each year.

Rule 40-4-3-.15 Repealed

Rule 40-4-3-.16 Repealed