New ways on the horizon to manage pest risks

Consumer demand for plants remains strong. For many growers, it feels like the sky is the limit. But the introduction of invasive state or federally regulated pests into your production system could shut down your market overnight, dealing an incalculable short- and long-term hit to your bottom line.

The Horticultural Research Institute, in partnership with the national plant office and the USDA, are pleased to announce the release of an important new tool for nurseries and greenhouse growers looking to improve plant production processes by identifying hazards (operational areas where plants are at risk of contamination or introduction of plant pests). Understanding your critical control points helps you implement measures to reduce or eliminate risk, paving the way for healthier plants and businesses.

Where to start ? A multi-year effort to modernize factory certification has resulted in a new program known as SANC. The Systems Approach to Nursery Certification (SANC) program is a voluntary, grower-driven, officially state-audited phytosanitary certification partnership that applies quality management principles to the entire vegetable production. SANC was developed as a holistic approach to plant cultivation and certification that satisfies applicable state and federal phytosanitary regulations.

SANC applies best practices at key points in the plant production process to address identified risks. These practices are integrated into a growing operating system, hence the name: systems approach. The starting point for system design is a greenhouse or nursery specific risk assessment that examines what can go wrong where in the plant production process.

The best part? SANC is easy to navigate and available free to growers. A free online risk assessment tool, available at, will guide you through the steps towards developing process improvements suitable for your nursery or greenhouse. Whether or not you seek full SANC certification, the Risk Assessment Tool will provide you with a practical guide to mitigating risk and improving plant health.

An exciting new tool for risk management, you can also learn more about SANC and other innovations on the horizon by joining AmericanHort in Denver for the Plug & Cutting Conference 2022 (September 19-21) or attend an upcoming webinar. Among the host of educational sessions focused on seeding smarter solutions for better performance, a panel led by the AmericanHort Advocacy Team explore emerging tools and approaches for greenhouse pest and disease risk management. In addition to the SANC, panelists will share information about new tools being developed by the USDA to help growers manage financial exposure to pest and disease risk. We hope to see it in the Mile High City later this month!


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