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Grant to help four nurseries join U.S. Nursery Certification Program (USNCP)

Four Oregon nurseries have paved the way in adopting a systems approach to pest and disease control. Now, up to four other Oregon nurseries will have the opportunity to join them at reduced cost.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has agreed to help four Oregon nurseries enter the United States Nursery Certification Program (USNCP). ODA will support these nurseries with funds from a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. Each nursery can receive up to $15,000 in services and goods to help defray program initiation costs.

The USNCP is the USDA’s official nursery certification program. It uses an audited systems approach program to meet Canada’s requirements for plants for planting. This allows the participating nursery to essentially self-issue phytosanitary certification for their Canada-bound material.

John Griesbach of Ascent Agricultural Services LLC will provide the necessary consulting services, staff training, reference materials and supplies to the four nurseries. John has assisted three nurseries in their adoption and participation in the USNCP and is recognized by USDA APHIS as an expert on the program.

The current USNCP participants in Oregon are larger nurseries. Three are Category 1 Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) members and the fourth is a Category 2 member. The USDA is trying to determine if the USNCP is scalable to small and midsized companies, so preference will be given to category 2 through 6 companies in the application process.

To participate, a nursery must have shipped stock to Canada in 2011, and it must plan to ship to Canada in 2012–2014. They must also meet several program guidelines. These include timely development of a program manual, agreeing to keep pertinent records on file, and agreeing to official auditing of the records and their production facility on a quarterly basis.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please email Jeff Stone, jstone@oan.org. Once potential participants are identified, an informational meeting will be held at the OAN office with the USDA, ODA and OAN to discuss the program in depth and to answer questions about USNCP participation.

If more than four qualifying companies show interest, participants will be chosen by a lottery.

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