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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 2. Agriculture
Agency 5. Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services
Chapter 440. Rules and Regulations for Enforcement of the Virginia Pest Law - Cotton Boll Weevil Quarantine
5/20/2024

2VAC5-440-40. Requirements for program participation.

A. All cotton farm operators in Virginia are hereby required to participate in the Boll Weevil Eradication and Exclusion Program. Participation shall include timely reporting of acreage and field locations, compliance with regulations, and payment of fees. The department shall notify farm operators of their program costs on a per acre basis. The following procedures are required for participation in the program:

1. Report cotton acreage and cotton field location or locations to the FSA office by July 1 of the current growing season for which participation is required. Any farm operator who does not report his cotton acreage and cotton field location or locations by July 1 will not be considered a program participant and may be subject to a penalty of 10% of the fee due for his unreported cotton acreage.

2. A farm operator shall pay a nonrefundable fee in an amount sufficient to cover estimated program costs as determined by the commissioner. Fees shall be made payable to Treasurer of Virginia and must be paid within 30 days of the invoice date. The commissioner shall set this fee following consultation with state, federal, and private organizations responsible for the implementation and funding of the Boll Weevil Eradication and Exclusion Program conducted in the Commonwealth.

3. Cotton grown for noncommercial purposes shall not be planted in Virginia unless the grower applies for and receives an exemption to grow cotton from the commissioner. Applications shall be made in writing to the commissioner, stating the conditions under which the grower requests such exemption. The decision whether all or part of these requirements shall be exempted shall be based on the following:

a. Location of growing area;

b. Size of growing area;

c. Pest conditions in the growing area;

d. Accessibility of growing area;

e. Any stipulations set forth in a compliance agreement between the individual and the department that are necessary for the effectuation of the program.

B. A farm operator whose acreage, as determined by FSA, exceeds the acreage that was reported by the farm operator by more than 10% shall be assessed a penalty of 10% of the fee due on that acreage in excess of the reported acreage.

C. A farm operator may apply for a waiver requesting delayed payment under conditions of financial hardship. Any farm operator applying for a waiver shall make application in writing to the commissioner stating the reason a waiver is necessary. The commissioner's decision whether to delay payment shall be based on, but not limited to, the following: (i) meteorological conditions, (ii) economic conditions, and (iii) any other uncontrollable destructive forces. If a waiver is granted, payment shall be due at the time the cotton is sold, or within 30 days of the invoice date, whichever is later.

D. Failure to pay all fees within 30 days of the invoice date will result in a penalty of 10% of the total fee due. Failure by a farm operator to pay all program costs within 30 days of the invoice date shall be a violation of this chapter. If such farm operator fails to comply with this chapter, the commissioner, through his duly authorized agents, may proceed to trap all cotton acreage found in violation and initiate actions to recover all trapping program costs through established policies and procedures identified in the Virginia Debt Collection Act (§ 2.2-4800 et seq. of the Code of Virginia).

E. The commissioner may purchase growing cotton when he deems it in the best interest of the program, provided that the funding necessary to purchase the cotton is available. Purchase price shall be based on an average of the previous five years of cotton yield figures, as determined by NASS, for the locality in which the growing cotton that may be purchased by the commissioner is located.

F. If necessary to prevent boll weevil reinfestation of the Commonwealth, the farm operator, upon notification by the commissioner, shall completely destroy all cotton that the commissioner deems to pose a threat to the safety of Virginia's cotton industry. If such farm operator fails to comply with this chapter, the commissioner, through his duly authorized agents, shall proceed to destroy such cotton and shall compute the actual costs of labor and materials used, and the farm operator shall pay to the commissioner such assessed costs. No damages shall be awarded the grower of such cotton for entering his cotton field and destroying any cotton when done by the order of the commissioner.

Statutory Authority

§ 3.2-703 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR115-04-14 § 4, eff. May 15, 1986; amended, Virginia Register Volume 3, Issue 6, eff. January 22, 1987; Volume 20, Issue 12, eff. March 25, 2004; Volume 30, Issue 26, eff. September 24, 2014.

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