Monrovia Growers is among the first to be accepted into the new U.S. Nursery Certification Program (USNCP), a pilot program that allows nursery stock to be shipped outside the United States without an export inspection.
The certification is for Monrovia’s Dayton, Ore., nursery, which is where much of the plant material that is shipped to its Canadian customers is grown. “We have established a system of policies and processes that have been approved by the USDA, and as part of the program, our nursery will be audited on a regular basis,” explained Walter Suttle, Monrovia’s technical services manager. “That protocol is designed to ensure that plants from our Oregon nursery remain pest free during production, and an inspection by the USDA or state agriculture officials of all plants leaving the nursery will not be necessary.” Phytosanitary certifications will be issued by the state of Oregon based on Monrovia’s continued compliance with USNCP.
Suttle points out that this program is much more efficient than testing every plant before it leaves the nursery. “A good analogy is Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) program in the U.S. food production industry. Inspectors don’t test every can of food that is produced, but rather they set up production systems that, if adhered to, will insure that the food is safe.” The USNCP guidelines cover a broad range of procedures, ranging from how to monitor plant material that is brought onto the nursery, to scouting crops for potential problems.
“It’s not just our Canadian customers who will benefit from our participation in this program,” says Suttle. “Our domestic customers can be confident that we are consistently producing pest-free plants.” Monrovia’s Visalia, Calif., nursery is applying for certification, with Monrovia’s East Coast nurseries to follow.
“We are constantly striving to grow and deliver the healthiest plants possible. The USNCP protocol dovetails nicely with what we’ve already been doing,” he added.