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February 2016 Newsletter


Hort Americas Corporate Newsletter  |  February 2016


Greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture growers who are participating in USDA’s GAP program are expected to have an easier time meeting Food Safety Modernization Act rules.

GAP-audited growers should have an easier time complying with food safety rules

The burden of proving a grower is exempt from the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act’s rule falls squarely on the shoulders of the growers. Phil Tocco, food safety educator at Michigan State University Extension, said there are growers who will be exempt from meeting the Act’s rules.

“There are qualifications for actually being covered by this rule,” Tocco said. “If growers are selling less than $25,000 a year gross, they do not have to comply with most of the production safety rules. Growers who are grossing more than $25,000 in produce sales, but less than $500,000 in produce sales, will have a staggered compliance.

“If a grower grossing less than $500,000 is selling more than half of what he is growing to local buyers or direct to consumers or within 275 miles of where the produce is grown, then the grower is in a category called qualified exempt. This means the grower theoretically doesn’t have to comply with the preponderance of the rule. If a grower is exempt, he has to prove that he is exempt. That burden of proof begins 60 days after the rule was published. So unlike all of the other segments of FSMA, if a grower is exempt, he needs to start to prove that he is exempt by Jan. 26, 2016.”

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OMRI-listed Riococo coir plugs

Hort Americas is offering OMRI-listed Riococo Closed Bottom Organic Plugs. These organic coir plugs work in a wide variety of production systems, including 1020 trays, grow bags, nutrient film technique (NFT), raft systems, aquaponics and aeroponics. These biodegradable plugs are made from a 100 percent coir fiber compressed disc packed in biodegradable cellulose paper.

The plugs have excellent water holding capacity. Equal distribution of water throughout the plugs ensures optimum management of the air and water balance and the equal distribution of nutrient solutions.

Available in 32 mm and 42 mm sizes, the plugs are ideal for the production of leafy greens and culinary herbs.

— Product Special —

Hort Americas offers special pricing on OMRI-listed Terra Genesis organic fertilizer

For a limited time Hort Americas is promoting Terra Genesis fertilizer in a 2½-gallon jug. This OMRI-listed fertilizer was developed for recirculating nutrient film technique (NFT) production systems. It can be used for the production of lettuce and other leafy greens, basil and other herbs.

Terra Genesis is a fermented colloidal molasses formulation combined with a unique complex microbial package. It is derived from fermented sugarcane molasses and other plant extracts.


Hort Americas is offering $7 off the price of the 2½-gallon jug, regularly $52.

It is available while supplies last, for $45.

USDA conducting 2015 Certified Organic Survey

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting the 2015 Certified Organic Survey to collect data on certified organic crops and livestock in the U.S. The survey is critical to helping determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production.

The survey is being mailed to all known organic farms in the U.S. Information is being collected on acreage, production and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities.

NASS is also collecting information about organic farmers’ production and marketing practices. Participants have been asked to respond by Feb. 19. After this date, NASS will follow up by mail, phone and personal interviews with producers who have not responded. Producers can return their forms by mail or complete the survey online at

 — Upcoming Events —

Hort Americas general manager, Chris Higgins, will be speaking at the Hydroponic Greenhouse Crop Production & Engineering Design Short Course at the University of Arizona, March 20-25.

We’ll be in Las Vegas, Nevada April 5-6 for the 4th Annual Indoor Ag-Con! Hope to see you there!