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Plant Health and the Horticultural Marketplace

Plant Health and the Horticultural Marketplace

Situation: The industry faces complex challenges in this area, since we are producing and shipping thousands of species and varieties of plants across state and national borders. New plants are the life blood of the industry, and we don’t want access to new varieties unduly restricted. At the same time, new exotic invasive pests and diseases often have major negative consequences in the greenhouse and nursery plant marketplace. Modern-day travel and trade are resulting in unprecedented new pest challenges. Meanwhile, government budgets are strained, and traditional approaches are challenged.

What We’re Doing Right Now: Over a billion plants grown in the U.S. each year start their lives overseas. These plants – mostly annuals and perennials, are propagated from the Americas to Africa, and are imported as unrooted cuttings.  The cuttings must come in free of pests and diseases of concern to the regulators.  And, they are highly perishable so any delays mean lost quality or loss of product.   

So what’s AmericanHort doing? We’re bringing leadership to an industry effort to create a new approach for certifying and expediting the entry process for plant cuttings. This will involve a “systems approach” that sets minimum standards for growing facility design and construction, production and sanitation practices. Companies willing and able to meet the standard would benefit from a streamlined import process. This will mean fewer surprises and delays, and a more secure supply chain, ultimately benefiting U.S. growers, distributors, garden retailers, and landscape professionals.