On May 1st of this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture instituted a hard enforcement on permits for truck drivers who stop (pick-up/deliver) in 14 Pennsylvania counties. As well as three counties in New Jersey, and one county in both Delaware and Virginia. These permits are to prevent the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, which is an extremely invasive insect that is known to decimate crops across the United States.
The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia, and was allegedly brought to the US 7-10 years ago by mistake through overseas shipping. Since then, they have breeding and spreading throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, causing extensive damage to some of the state’s most notable crops (i.e. apples, peaches, grapes). The insect feeds on the actual trees, not the fruit itself. They essentially kill the tree by weakening it though feeding on it’s sap. Residents of the listed counties have been instructed to kill these insects when they are encountered. If the spread of this insect is not contained, the repercussions could be devastating to produce growers across the country.
The enforcement of permits, will ensure that drivers and dispatchers know how to recognize and discard the Spotted Lanternfly and its eggs, that may be trying to hitch a ride to a new state.
Who must obtain the permit?
Drivers picking up, or delivering into any of the 19 counties currently listed.
How is the permit obtained?
Through a free online two-hour training course. Only one representative from the company must complete the training to obtain the permit. It is expected that the person who completes the course, will then train the rest of their colleagues.
Link to the course: https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training
What’s the Penalty?
A criminal citation of up to $300 in addition to a civil penalty up to $20,000 is to be issued to any trucks that are not compliant.
If you have any questions about the permitting process email the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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