Information for New FPS Customers
Scope of Services
FPS is a self-supporting public service center of the University of California, with few of the teaching or research functions associated with many UC academic departments. As such, FPS is like a small, specialized business within the University whose primary activity is the distribution of plant material and provision of testing services to commercial nurseries. FPS is set up mainly to provide small quantities of elite propagating material to nurseries, who then increase materials to commercial quantities. We do not maintain, and are not generally able to supply, very large numbers of cuttings, plants or seed. It is normally necessary to purchase from a commercial nursery if you are looking for very large quantities of propagating material. Also, FPS generally collects and distributes only propagating material for which formal orders have been submitted, and does not maintain a standing inventory of materials available for "off the shelf" purchase. For some materials like mist propagated grape plants, particularly for new selections and varieties that are in short supply, there can be a significant wait to receive materials. As part of the planning for your planting, it is important to investigate the lead time required to receive the materials you desire.
All materials maintained in the FPS collection have passed carefully selected tests for specific target virus diseases. Foundation-level (or "registered") materials are tested in accordance with the indexing tests and technologies prescribed in California Department of Food & Agriculture registration and certification program regulations. All foundation-level materials have tested negative on CDFA-prescribed tests.
FPS does not conduct research or maintain performance or evaluative information about the materials in its collection, and does not make horticultural recommendations.
Because of the high cost of maintaining a specialized collection of premium disease-tested materials, you will notice that prices for FPS material are higher than material that can be obtained from commercial nurseries. Minimum order charges are set for each crop to enable FPS to recover base-level administrative and processing costs which are incurred even for very small orders.
Allocation Deadlines & Policies
Most FPS distribution of individual cuttings, plants and seeds are limited to a particular season of the year so it is very important to submit your signed order form prior to the ordering deadline for each crop group. Due to the limited quantity of most FPS propagation material a missed deadline may result in having to wait until the following season to receive material. Available propagating material is allocated among all whose orders are confirmed prior to the allocation deadline for each commodity type. Orders received after an allocation deadline is considered on a first-come, first-served basis after all orders received on time have been filled, if any material still remains.
How To Place An Order
While preliminary requests by phone, FAX or E-mail are accepted, before your order can be confirmed and material supplied, a signed original FPS Order Form/Grower Agreement must be mailed and received in the FPS office. A 50% prepayment must be submitted with your order prior to the allocation deadline. After the Agreement is executed, you will receive an acknowledgement letter with a receipt for your prepayment and a copy of the executed FPS Order Form/Grower Agreement. The Grower Agreement is a legally-binding document which constitutes the contract between the customer and FPS and, for grape materials only, includes your agreement to pay FPS user fees on any propagations made from FPS materials for the life of your vineyard. Details about FPS grapevine user fees can be found in the grape section of the Web site.
Material can be picked up at the FPS facility or can be shipped via FedEx. Be sure to specify your preference on the order form. If you indicate you wish to pick up your material, you will be notified when it is ready. Because space is at a premium and longer-term storage is not feasible, it is expected that you will pick up your material within 30 days of notification that it is ready. A street address is required for FedEx delivery and, unless you specify otherwise on your order form, material will be sent as soon as it is ready without prior notification. You will be billed at cost for all shipping charges, along with a charge for packing & handling. A packing list will be included with your material which shows the variety, selection number and quantity of the material supplied, the locations from which the material was collected and the registration status of the material.
After material has been picked up or shipped, you will receive an invoice for any remaining balance due on your order. It will include the cost of materials, shipping, packing & handling, any minimum order charges or surcharges, fees for any required phytosanitary compliance certificates or treatments performed on the material, and will include a credit for your prepayment. If your prepayment is greater than the amount owed, you will receive a refund of the overpayment.
We have made every effort over the decades to insure access to our collection for the international community. Recently, there have been dramatic changes in the management of phytosanitary requirements for exports to the majority of countries around the world. Essentially, regulators are searching disease databases for each crop that might be imported, and requiring imports from countries of origin to be certified free of all known pathogens which cause disease, regardless of whether that pathogen is already present in the destination country. Many of the pathogens listed are ubiquitous in all areas of the world where the crop is grown and there is no practical way to provide assurance of exclusion. For much of the world, this has made it impossible for our US Federal regulators to provide us with the documentation we need to ship our plant material overseas.
As a result, we have changed our sales policies to limit our shipments to destinations within the United States.