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3PM Report: Selling Nursery Stock at Farmers’ Markets

 Photo by David Kenyon, MDNR

Photo by David Kenyon, MDNR

With the increase of farmers’ and flea markets around Michigan, and with many of them selling a wide variety of merchandise, you may consider selling your winter hardy nursery stock at one of these locations.  In this economy it may be a way to market excess inventory or make your business more visible in your local community.  Although this may be a great business opportunity, there are some things you need to know before taking your nursery stock to market or selling it at the roadside.

Public Act 189 of 1931, the Insect Pest and Plant Disease Act, requires a Nursery Stock Dealer Market License be purchased to sell at one of these locations.  By definition this license is needed when you sell away from your licensed premises at places like farmers’ markets, city markets, and sales lots or out of a vehicle.  For those of you who hold a Nursery Stock Grower License (who propagate and grow your own winter-hardy nursery stock), an additional license will be needed.  This is also true for someone who has a regular Nursery Stock Dealer License, such as someone who owns a landscaping company or a retail nursery.  There are two other market licenses available, those being the Registered Nursery Dealer Market License and the Small-Scale Grower Market License.  The former is for those who market nursery stock that is completely grown in Michigan; the other for those small firms who are eligible for the Small-Scale License (as determined by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) nursery inspector).  Finally, one Market License is sufficient unless you are selling nursery stock at multiple markets on the same day.  Should that occur, a market license will be required for each sales location.  

Any type of nursery license is combined with the Certificate of Inspection.  When transporting, selling, or giving away nursery stock, Act 189 requires that the nursery stock be accompanied by a certification attesting that the nursery stock has been inspected and certified as meeting standards of pest freedom.  Take a copy of your Market License to the market; it will allow the market, your customers, and MDARD inspectors to verify that you are licensed and that you are selling only certified nursery stock.  You do not have to provide a copy to a customer taking the plant home.  It is a priority of MDARD to protect plant health and to provide consumer protection by ensuring that healthy pest-free nursery stock is offered to the citizens of Michigan, whether that tree, shrub, or perennial is going to be planted in the landscape or offered for sale.

Selling your nursery stock at farmers’ or flea markets can be a good way to expand your market, but an additional nursery license is required.  For more information on these licenses, visit our website at www.michigan.gov/mdard-licensing, select “Agricultural Products”, then “Nursery Licensing and Inspection”, or call our Customer Service Center at (800) 292-3939.