In 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and the U.S. nursery industry worked together under a pilot program to determine whether greenhouse certification can effectively mitigate pest and disease risks associated with generally admissible unrooted plant cuttings produced in offshore facilities. The pilot demonstrated that growing plants in certified greenhouses under a systems approach can effectively mitigate most pest risk offshore, safeguarding American agriculture and natural resources.
In June 2020, based on the results of the pilot, PPQ announced the establishment of the Offshore Greenhouse Certification Program (OGCP). Facilities that participate in the program may benefit from a reduced inspection frequency at the U.S. plant inspection stations for shipments that meet the following criteria:
APHIS will physically visit and certify all interested offshore facilities before participating in the program. APHIS will provide certification to facilities that meet or exceed the minimum standards for facility construction, security, production and sanitation, pest management, training, and record-keeping as described in the OGCP’s Framework. APHIS will work with the nursery industry and appropriate national plant protection organizations (NPPOs) to inspect and issue/re-issue the facility certificate once a year. Participation in the program is voluntary and requires the establishment of a trust fund through a signed cooperative service agreement to cover the cost of the certification visits.
For additional information, please refer for the Offshore Greenhouse Certification Program Framework, review the Frequently Asked Questions or contact the program manager at OGCP@usda.gov.