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Provender Nurseries strengthens its focus on biosecurity

Provender Nurseries has changed the role of its nursery manager to reflect his work on biodiversity. Stuart Tickner, who has been nursery manager for the last six years, now has the title of nursery production and biosecurity manager.

Stuart has seen the job role change enormously throughout his time at Provender Nurseries due to change in biosecurity procedures, associated paperwork and managing APHA inspections on site. Stuart manages the biosecurity onsite and at all of its developing, newly acquired offsite growing facilities that require paperwork for plant procurement and traceability.

Working closely with APHA and other advisory bodies, biosecurity used to take up a few hours a week; it now takes up a few hours of Stuarts time on a daily basis. Working in conjunction with Provender Nurseries purchasing team, Stuart also trains the nursery team to recognise pests and diseases.

Whenever Provender Nurseries purchase plants that are on the EU Tree Notification list, APHA is notified via its eDomero online portal. Stuart then accompanies the APHA representative on site once the notifiable plants arrive. Plants that are on the EU Tree Notification list can be inspected on the nursery or in their final planting destination in customers gardens.

Stuart has also devised a questionnaire for biosecurity issues that was sent out to all of Provender Nurseries’ suppliers in Europe back in 2017. Suppliers that did not meet the requirements set out in the questionnaire for applicable plant lines resulted in Provender Nurseries sourcing those lines elsewhere, from compliant suppliers. The questionnaire is also taken along by the purchasing team when they visit their suppliers abroad and used as a checklist.

Staff at Provender Nurseries are kept up to date with all aspects of biosecurity by folders in each office that prove invaluable to the sales team when quoting and also by on-site training in conjunction with APHA once a year for all staff.

Managing director Richard McKenna says: “Having Stuart in our team and his knowledge of biosecurity gives Provender Nurseries confidence in our buying responsibly and being able to offer our customers clean, inspected stock.

“With Brexit ahead of us and the as yet undecided changes in legislation that may arise we anticipate more challenges in terms of the amount of paperwork and amount of inspections we may face as a result. With Stuart aboard and training more of our nursery staff to handle APHA inspections and paperwork tracing we have faith that we can continue to provide plants for our customers in a responsible manner.”

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