OFA Bulletin November/December 2012 : Page 2

OFA Mission Statement To support and advance professional horticulture. OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals Forum Plant Production Certification: Reducing Pests While Increasing Your Bottom Line By Joe Bischoff 2130 Stella Court Columbus, Ohio 43215-1033 USA 614-487-1117 Fax: 614-487-1216 ofa@ofa.org www.ofa.org OFA Bulletin November/December 2012 NUMBER 936 Editorial Staff A Stephen A. Carver, Ph.D. Scott Leyshon Laura Kunkle Editor Contributors Bill R. Argo Joe Bischoff John Erwin James E. Faust Paul R. Fisher Jonathan Hensley Travis Higginbotham Jinsheng Huang Kathy Kelley Jackie Lacey Kelly Lewis Salvatore Mangiafico Donald Merhaut Alicia Rittenhouse Al Zylstra NLA and OFA, and in collaboration with SAF, have formed an industry working group to develop a voluntary plant pest certification program that is intended to be scalable and flexible. Certification programs can take many forms. There are programs that provide individuals with a professional accreditation for specific trades or skills by completing a series of courses and/or passing a test. Some programs certify a business or facility for marketing purposes after they meet a set of standards – think labeling for organic, green, or sustainable. The certification program that the industry working group is pursuing resembles the latter in that it pertains to a facility or operation but it is specific to dealing with the issue of mitigating plant pest and disease risks. Furthermore, it would not be a privately managed certification but instead be facilitated and regulated by USDA-APHIS in coordination with the state departments of agriculture. The potential for a marketing opportunity would certainly be possible, perhaps likely, but it would be the result of participation in a program that effectively reduced the risk of spreading potentially invasive plant pests and diseases and would not be the intended goal of the effort. An associated benefit of participation for floriculture and nursery growers who wish to participate would be increased shipping flexibility for domestic and international trade and improved production efficiencies. This work is still in its early phases and its successful establishment will rely on significant collaboration with the National Plant Board and USDA-APHIS. However, once the program is finalized its use would significantly reduce the risk of invasive species spreading through the trade of plants for planting, while improving the bottom line of participating businesses through efficiencies in plant production and shipping. Published Bimonthly Copyright © OFA 2012. Permission is hereby given to reprint articles appearing in this OFA Bulletin provided the following reference statement appears with the reprinted article: “Reprinted from the OFA Bulletin, (phone: 614-487-1117) November/December 2012, Number 936.” No endorsement is intended for products mentioned in this OFA Bulletin, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The authors and OFA assume no liability resulting from the use of practices printed in this OFA Bulletin. The trade of plants for planting has exploded since the 1980s. Plants in every life stage, from seeds, tissue culture, cuttings, and mature plants are traded, as is every type of plant, from indoor foliage, annual bedding, to woody ornamentals. The types of growing environments run the full gamut – greenhouses, screen-houses, shade-houses, outdoor containers, and in-field production. To summarize, we now ship just about everything, just about everywhere. This diversity provides incredible choice to consumers, allowing them to experience the beauty provided by plants with origins from around the world. However, when plants are shipped they are sometimes accompanied by organisms that associate themselves with the plants we grow. They are freeloaders to the system, and can hitch a ride with the plants being shipped. Most of these associated organisms are innocuous or pose no threat to the environment they are being shipped to or the plants themselves. However, some are plant pests which have the potential of establishing in a new environment and impacting plants that would not otherwise be exposed. So how do we efficiently and effectively minimize the spread of invasive pest and pathogens while maintaining trade, choice, and the marketplace? Historically, the regulatory approach to preventing the spread of potential invasive organisms has relied on inspections of material at the production facility before being shipped or at a port of entry (i.e., border crossing, airport, sea port) when crossing an international, and even some state borders. This has been the general approach taken since the passage of the Plant Quarantine Act in 1912. Here we are, 100 years later, and OF A Bulletin Background End Point Inspections vs. Integrated Measures 2

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