May 29, 2007
ISALIA, Calif. (May 29, 2006) - Monrovia Growers Visalia is the first California nursery to be accepted into the new U.S. Nursery Certification Program (USNCP), a new program that allows nursery stock to be shipped outside the U.S. without an export inspection.
Monrovia's Dayton, Ore., nursery was accepted last year when the program was still in pilot testing. "While a majority of plant material that is shipped to Canada comes from our Oregon nursery, there is still a demand for tropicals, citrus and other tender plants from the Visalia location," explained Sal Soriano, general manager Monrovia Visalia.
Monrovia has established a system of policies and processes that have been approved by the USDA, and as part of the program, both nurseries will be audited on a regular basis. That protocol is designed to ensure that plants 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 on a state level, based on Monrovia's continued compliance with USNCP.
This program is much more efficient than testing every plant before it leaves the nursery, Soriano points out. "A good analogy is 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 ensure 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 Soriano. "Our domestic customers can be confident that we are consistently producing pest-free plants." Monrovia's East Coast nurseries are applying for certification.
"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.