“In 1999, plum pox virus was discovered for the first time in North America. This discovery was within ten miles of our warehousing and shipping facility and within six miles from one of our farming operations. In the three years that followed, over 1500 acres of bearing peach, nectarine, plum and apricot orchards were removed and we were instructed, under quarantine regulations, to destroy our entire crop of stone fruit nursery stock and propagative material despite the fact that plum pox virus was never found in any of these trees. Fortunately, there was adequate compensation to carry us forward as we worked on a new plan to continue in stone fruit nursery production and marketing.
The key to the success of our retooling efforts was the collection of virus certified material located in Prosser and the now National Clean Plant Center. We were able to immediately access propagative material, and working with Dave Wilson Nursery in California, we were able to get new nursery trees produced for the establishment of a foundation block of trees in Pennsylvania. Obviously this took a number of years to accomplish, but under the direction of Dr. Ruth Welliver and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industries, we successfully established this planting over the next 3 years.
This is an example of how the National Clean Plant System had a very significant impact on not just the nursery industry, but also the broader industry. There was great concern within the peach growing community nationwide in the wake of plum pox virus. The availability of virus certified mother stock provided the assurance that growers were receiving clean plants.”