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US issues new rules for Idaho potato field quarantines

The new plan involves methods to deal with a microscopic pest in southeastern Idaho that threatens the state's billion-dollar potato industry.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2018 file photo, potatoes run down a conveyor belt at Brett Jensen Farms outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho. U.S. officials have released a new plan involving methods to deal with a microscopic pest in southeastern Idaho that threatens the state's billion-dollar potato industry that supplies a third of the nation's potatoes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture late last week released the final rule that sets out criteria for killing off pale cyst nematodes and reopening quarantined fields to production.. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, File)

BOISE, Idaho — U.S. officials have released a new plan involving methods to deal with a microscopic pest in southeastern Idaho that threatens the state's billion-dollar industry that supplies a third of the nation's potatoes. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture late last week released the final rule that sets out criteria for killing off pale cyst nematodes and reopening quarantined fields to production. 

The new rule follows a 2018 court decision that found the U.S. government illegally quarantined Idaho potato fields infested with the nematode first discovered in 2006. But the judge allowed the quarantines to remain until the Agriculture Department approved new rules with public input.