National Plant Board
Plant Quarantine, Nursery Inspection, and Certification Guidelines
Nursery License/Registration/Certification Information
I. LICENSE DEFINED
“License” means a document issued by a state regulatory agency authorizing any person to engage in the nursery business at a particular location under a specified business name. Some states may refer to them as permits or registration certificates.* Thus, persons duly authorized are referred to as licensees, permittees, or registrants.
II. LICENSING PURPOSES
A. Pest Control
Licenses are generally issued to comply with pest control provisions of the law. They enable regulatory agencies to develop a file or database containing the names and locations where nursery stock is being grown, sold, or shipped. These lists enable regulatory agencies to conduct an orderly inspection program to:
1) determining compliance with established pest freedom and other standards for nursery stock and/or
2) establishing a basis for phytosanitary certification of nursery stock that must meet quarantine requirements. Basic nursery inspection typically is complemented or augmented by
a) special inspections or
b) supervision and documentation of required treatments.
Licenses sometimes serve professional purposes. A few states have established professional standards and administer examinations or perform other functions to determine compliance with those standards. Once the standards are met, a license or permit is issued.
Another important purpose of licensing is to generate funds that can be used to cover the costs of performing required nursery inspection work. At least one state uses license fee funds to also cover the cost of phytosanitary certification. However, it is more typical to charge phytosanitary certification fees to cover the latter.
*Some states do not license nurseries. Instead, they perform inspections of the nursery stock being grown or sold at nurseries and if the stock is in compliance with pest freedom requirements, they issue an inspection certificate.
III. OWNERSHIP: CHARACTER AND GOOD FAITH
States might consider requiring that an applicant for a license to sell nursery stock satisfy the licensing authority of its “character and good faith in seeking to carry on the nursery business.” This requirement would not relate to moral character; but, rather, to the applicant’s compliance with laws that govern the business.
Whether a state decides to establish such a requirement or not, the fact is that ownership truly does govern the degree of compliance with nursery, quarantine, pesticide, labor, environmental and other laws affecting nursery operations. At least, nursery licensing agencies should issue licenses to the person who makes application and not to the business. That way, when ownership changes, a new application must be made and the licensing agency will be in a position to evaluate both the applicant’s capability for and the degree of commitment to compliance with nursery standards, quarantine requirements, etc.
IV. SALES LOCATIONS
Licenses should be issued for every location from which nursery stock is delivered direct to a customer. This definition is critical for determining which locations must be licensed. It would exclude growing areas, but include landscaper holding areas where plants can become infested if held for a period of time. Inspection would be required at such locations and states that fund their work through license fees would have landscaper holding yards as an additional source of revenue. Work performed at unlicensed growing grounds could be funded by an acreage fee that would be assessed in addition to the basic fee assessed for each sales location.
The definition of “nursery stock” is very broad (see Appendix C). It includes container and field-grown (ball and burlapped, bare-root, and boxed); plants collected from the wild, residential or commercial landscapes, or farm plantings; bulbs, tubers, corms, pips, etc.; florist materials such as cut flowers and cut greens; Christmas trees; and propagative materials such as budwood, scions, rootstocks, seedlings, seed, etc.Consequently, nursery regulatory agencies need to determine which kinds of nursery operations should be licensed to facilitate orderly marketing, assure consumer protection, or to fulfill any other purpose served by nursery inspection in their states.For illustrative purposes, assume that a state’s nursery licensing law is a pest control provision of the law and that license fees are assessed to fund the cost of the inspection or enforcement workload. One licensing scenario would be as follows:
Fee Paid License
-Unlawful for any person, not expressly exempted, to sell nursery stock unless such person holds a valid license issued in accordance with state licensing requirements (see Appendix C for definition of “Person”).
Basic annual license fee for each location from which nursery stock is delivered direct to a customer.
Annual acreage fee for land used in the production, storage, or sale of nursery stock in excess of one acre. (A scale of acreage fees could be established to implement this provision).
-Establish annual license period(s) with deadline for renewal
.-Establish late or penalty fee for renewal after deadline date.
-Establish fee refund provision for use when licenses are not issued.
Fee Exempt License
-Any person who sells plant materials of his or her own production for planting only within the county where grown and the annual value of stock so produced does not exceed a specific dollar value specified in law. (Note that an application would still be made, a license would be issued, and appropriate inspection would be made–only the fee is exempted.)
-Any person who sells and ships only seeds.
-Any person who sells plants at retail for indoor decorative purposes only.
-Any person who sells cut Christmas trees.
(Note that each state licensing agency would have to determine what kinds of operations should be exempt. Certain agencies might choose to license those who sell seed, sellers of indoor decoratives at retail, and those who sell cut Christmas trees.)
Refusal, Revocation, and Suspension
A license may be refused, suspended or revoked if the licensee or applicant has:
-Willfully refused to comply with laws and regulations relative to nursery stock or to any pest that might be carried on nursery stock.
-Intentionally engaged in fraud or deception in the procurement of the license.
-Been guilty of fraud or misrepresentation in the handling or sale of nursery stock.
-Failed to maintain nursery stock produced or sold by him or her in accordance with pest freedom standards established by the state.
-Failed to comply with any lawful order issued by the state nursery law enforcement agency.
-Nursery law should declare certain acts or omissions as being unlawful.
-Criminal and/or civil penalties should be considered for violations. Provision for the administrative assessment of a civil penalty is advised. (See also foregoing section on license refusal, revocation and suspension.)
A. Application Forms May Include the Following Information:
-Firm Name (Name of Nursery or Business), mailing address, and phone number.
-Name of owner(s) and nature of ownership (individual, partnership, corporation, etc.)
-Address(es) and Acreage(s) of All Sales Locations. Number and Street or Road (NOT a P.O. Box), City, and County.
-Type of Business (Wholesaler, retailer, producer, landscaper, jobber, broker/commission merchant, shipper out-of-state, etc. (as appropriate).
-Categories of Nursery Stock Produced (only for those who indicate that they are “Producers”).
Examples: coniferous evergreens, broad-leaved evergreens, deciduous shade trees, deciduous shrubs, rose plants, indoor decorative plants, cacti and succulents, deciduous fruit and nut trees, grapevines, citrus plants, caneberry plants, (e.g. raspberry) strawberry plants, vegetable plants, sod, ground cover, palms, etc.
-Address(es) and Acreage(s) of all growing areas: Number and Street or Road (NOT P.O. Box), City, and County.
-Sources of nursery stock imported by the licensee: Name of nursery, address, and telephone number. (Confidential business information should be protected consistent with state law.)
-Fee Schedule and Provision for Calculation of Fees Due (if applicable).
-Directions for submission of application and payment of fees.
-Statement Certifying that the information provided is true and correct together with signature block for authorized representative, official title, and date.
B. Model Application for Fee Paid Licenses
(See Attachment A)
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
DEPARTMENT OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
NURSERY, SEED & COTTON PROGRAM
1220 N STREET, SACRAMENTO, CA 95814
64-029 (Rev. 4/95)
“The Department of Food and Agriculture has established time periods for the processing of permit applications, in compliance with Government Code section 15374-15378. Failure to comply with these time periods may be appealed to the Secretary of Food and Agriculture, 1220 N street, Sacramento, CA 95814, pursuant to Regulations set forth in Title 3, California Code of Regulations, Section 301. Under certain circumstances, the Secretary may order that the applicant receive a reimbursement of filing fees.”
Please print or type information requested in spaces where indicated.
APPLICATION FOR LICENSE TO SELL NURSERY STOCK
RENEWAL CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP
CHANGE OF ADDRESS (ONLY)
Current or Previous License No.
INCIDENTAL RETAILER – An Operator of a retail sales outlet for nursery stock which is handled incidental to other merchandise.
JOBBER / BROKER / COMMISSION / MERCHANT
PRODUCER – A Commercial Producer who grows and sells a total of $1,000 or more of nursery stock in one year.
CUT FLOWERS/CUT GREENS – Wholesale
LIST LOCATIONS WHERE NURSERY STOCK IS GROWN, BUT NOT SOLD NOR DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO CUSTOMERS. GIVE ROAD OR STREET ADDRESS.
Employers are required by Section 16545 of the Business and Professional Code to subscribe to the following: I am aware of the provisions of Section 3700 of the Labor Code, which requires every employer to be insured against liability for Workmen’s Compensation.
0.00 – 1.00 acres………… $ 0
1.01 – 1.99 acres………… $ 75
2.00 – 5.99 acres………… $135
6.00 – 10.99 acres………… $240
11.00 – 20.99 acres………… $315
21.00 – 50.99 acres………… $450
51.00 and up……………………. $500TOTAL ACREAGE (Include fraction)
P.O. Box 942872, Sacramento, California 94271 1220 N Street, Sacramento, California 95814 NOTE: ALLOW SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS FOR LICENSE PROCESSING.
I CERTIFY THAT THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED IN THIS APPLICATION IS TRUE AND CORRECT.