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News & Press: General Announcement

AmericanHort Lighthouse Program - March 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016   (0 Comments)
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H-2B Visa Processing Update

Craig Regelbrugge
Many AmericanHort members and other seasonal employers have been experiencing significant H-2B processing delays and the devastating impacts these delays cause. The latest report is that several U.S. Senators and Representatives have contacted the Department of Labor (DOL) to express deep concerns. The DOL responded recently by announcing new emergency procedures intended to address the backlog of H-2B applications. The new procedures, now in effect,provide for a modified recruitment process.

Sixth Circuit WOTUS Ruling Further Muddies the Waters

Davi Bowen
On February 22, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, determined that it has authority to evaluate the challenges to the controversial “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule which was developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers but has been at least temporarily blocked by the courts. The court found that the Clean Water Rule ultimately impacts the agency's regulatory system, granting the appeals court jurisdiction on direct review. This is a blow to industry and other groups that have wanted to fight pending court battles at the district court level.Learn more.


** WSNLA to provide materials for members ** 

Plant for Pollinators Promotion Materials Available!

Jennifer Gray
Making shoppers feel good about their purchases has a powerful effect on buying decisions. Research shows that cause marketing not only catches the attention of shoppers, it encourages purchasing and turns customers into advocates for your business. An increasingly important cause for consumers in all demographics is pollinator health.The Horticultural Research Institutehas created a series of point-of-purchase (POP) materials encouraging the purchase and planting of plants that support pollinators. These pollinator POP materials, promoting the message of “Help Us Plant One Million Gardens,” can be an effective addition to industry retailers’ promotions toolkit, while simultaneouslypromoting an important and global cause.

EPA's Imidacloprid Briefing; Some State Legislators Won't Wait

Jill Calabro, PhD
EPA hosted a webinar to discuss their preliminary risk assessment of imidacloprid’s impact on pollinators. In the risk assessment, only agricultural uses were considered; ornamentals are slated to be included in the full report. While no new information was presented in the webinar, the public comment period was extended 30 days to April 14, 2016.

Though EPA has not made any regulatory changes yet following the release of this preliminary risk assessment, state legislators across the US are not necessarily waiting for EPA to consider the underlying science. Legislation against neonicotinoids has been introduced in various states,so it’s important that you keep current on what’s happening on this front.

H-2A and H-2B Allowable Charges Changed February 26!

Craig Regelbrugge
H-2 employers, a heads up!New allowable meal and subsistence travel charges were published by the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, effective February 26. H-2 user employers are urged toread the DOL notice carefullyand ensure proper compliance.

What You Need to Know About theAmerican Standard for Nursery Stock

Davi Bowen
AmericanHort now has responsibility for maintaining the American Standard for Nursery Stock, ANSI Z60.1. First established by the American Nursery & Landscape Association in conformance with procedures specified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), this important resource presents a standardized system of sizing and describing plants to facilitate orderly trade in nursery stock. For years, the Standard has provided buyers and sellers of nursery stock with a common terminology in order to facilitate commercial transactions. The Standard is periodically revised to meet the changing needs of the industry.

The Standard is often referenced in commercial transactions among growers, distributors, garden centers, and landscape installers. It covers topics such as measuring plants, specifying and stating the size of plants, determining the proper relationship between height and caliper, or height and width, and determining whether a root ball or container is large enough for a particular size plant.

The2014 version of the Standardand aFrequently Asked Questions (FAQ)summary are available online at

Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Area Expands

Jill Calabro, PhD
Emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to advance across the U.S. USDA recently announced the expansion of EAB–regulated areas, effective immediately. The following states and counties are impacted:
  • Georgia: Borrow, Cherokee, Douglas, Fannin, Habersham, Murray, and White

  • Kansas: Douglas and Jefferson

  • Louisiana: Bossier and Claiborne Parishes

  • Minnesota: Chisago, Scott, and Washington

  • Tennessee: Wilson


The expansion is the result of positive detection of EAB in each locale. Interstate movement of plants, wood, and wood products that are known to be EAB host material is regulated to help prevent further infestations. This includes firewood, nursery stock, green lumber, waste, compost, and chips of ash species. To date, EAB has been detected as far West as Colorado. There are known populations of ash in all 48 contiguous states.

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