Plants imported from NM may be illegal in TX

The state of New Mexico boasts a $4 billion-dollar-a-year agriculture business and many El Pasoans enjoy shopping at nurseries across the state line, bringing plants back home to gardens in the Sun City.

What those Texas shoppers may not know is that in order for them to legally transport those plants into Texas they must obtain a phytosanitary inspection certificate from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

It does not matter if it's a single orchid or truck filled with ferns.

The regulation from the Texas Department of Agriculture is intended to keep foreign and unwanted pests from entering the state – but people we spoke with in Las Cruces said the regulation could never be enforced for private citizens who are only looking to buy a few house plants.

The Texas Department of Agriculture tells ABC-7 that fines for the transportation of plants not carrying a phytosanitary-inspection certification could range from $500 up to $10,000.

New Mexico nursery owners and managers ABC-7 spoke with this week said they did not know about the Texas law and therefore could not inform their customers.

Some said they thought the NMDA should be the ones telling them about regulations like these in outside states.

"These are Texas agricultural laws, and each state is entitled to have its own set of laws," NMDA spokeswoman Katie Goetz said when asked if it's NMDA's responsibility to inform local nurseries about other states' laws. "We of course have our own certain set of laws and we make sure that New Mexico businesses operate by New Mexico laws."

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