(Nov. 4) Nebraska will quarantine out-of-state potatoes it suspects of having Columbia root nematode, but a Nebraska agriculture official is optimistic that new requirements on table and seed potatoes won’t hinder shipments from affected areas.

Beginning Nov. 15, potatoes from the following states and counties will be quarantined: California, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alamosa and Rio Grande counties in Colorado, Humboldt County in Nevada, San Juan County in New Mexico, Hartley County in Texas and Iron County in Utah.

Under the quarantine, table-stock potatoes shipped to Nebraska from the affected states and counties from Jan. 3 to May 30 will need to be free of soil, sprayed with a sprout inhibitor and accompanied by certification guaranteeing phytosanitary standards.

Seed potatoes will need to be soil-free and accompanied by certification.

Rich Reiman, an official with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, said that much of what Nebraska’s quarantine requires is already standard industry practice.

He said he expected potato traffic into Nebraska to be largely unaffected.

Nebraska’s quarantine came after a load of potatoes — incorrectly labeled as Nebraska potatoes — was rejected at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2001, placing Nebraska on Mexico’s list of states prohibited from exporting potatoes.

Columbia root nematode is a microscopic plant parasite that does not harm humans but damages potatoes.