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AmericanHort Partners with USDA And SAF to Improve Port Clearance
Offshore-grown Cutting Certification Pilot Set to Launch in October


AmericanHort has partnered with the U.S.D.A. and the Society of American Florists to develop a program that will expedite the import of unrooted plant cuttings from six Latin American countries. The expectation is that a successful pilot program will result in reduced inspections and expedited entry procedures.

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are collaborating with U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to initiate an offshore certification program for unrooted plant cuttings. A six-month pilot program is expected to be launched on Oct. 1, and will include growing operations in six Latin American countries.

Each year, the United States imports more than 1 billion unrooted cuttings of mostly annual and perennial plant varieties. This is an important supply chain for U.S. rooting stations and finished-plant growers. Nearly half of all plants sold in U.S. retail stores start from cuttings produced offshore. The high volume of these imports, most of which enter between Dec. and March, presents staffing challenges for APHIS and Customs and Border Protection as they inspect for plant pests and diseases.

AmericanHort believes that these unrooted cuttings generally present a low risk of harboring pests and pathogens of regulatory concern. Because of their high perishability, expediting port clearance would help to ensure vitality and benefit offshore production facilities, rooting stations, and finished plant growers.

Beginning in Oct. 2017, APHIS is expected to launch a six-month greenhouse certification pilot program. The pilot will include greenhouse facilities in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Colombia that produce generally admissible, unrooted vegetative cuttings for import into the United States. The pilot is being designed to determine whether greenhouse certification could effectively mitigate at origin regulated pest and disease risks associated with plant cuttings produced in approved facilities.

For the duration of the pilot, facilities must adhere to the requirements outlined in the draft framework. This includes standard plant pest exclusion procedures, sanitation and traceability protocols, a summary of the greenhouse certification process, an explanation of how shipments will be handled at U.S. ports of entry, and expected next steps after the pilot's conclusion in March 2018.

If successful, the program is expected to open to additional countries and producers. For more information visit,

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October 15, 2019, 10:31 pm PDT

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