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The National Clean Plant Network – a Farm Bill program
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The National Clean Plant Network – a Farm Bill program

The National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) provides high quality asexually propagated plant material free of targeted plant pathogens and pests to protect the environment and ensure the global competitiveness of specialty crop producers. 

Fiscal Year 2019 Information

The National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) provides high quality asexually propagated plant material tested for targeted plant pathogens and pests to protect the environment and ensure the global competitiveness of specialty crop producers.  In FY2019, APHIS has a base of not less than $5,000,000 to support NCPN clean plant projects nationally.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has scheduled the fiscal year (FY) 2019 open period for submitting proposals to implement the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) program of the 2014 Farm Bill.  The FY 2019 open period for submitting NCPN proposals will last for 12 weeks from July 23, 2018 through October 12, 2018. 

Open Period Related Materials

Resources for Applicants

Information about the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN)

The purpose of the NCPN is to protect plants of economic value by diagnosing for plant pathogens, curing those plants, and to protect starter plants and make them available to industry.  

Cumulative highlights since 2014 include: 

  • Fruit Trees - Maintained about 2,250 kinds of clean fruit trees that have delivered more than 500,000 plants as well as more than 1.7 million buds to nurseries and growers.
  • Grapes – Maintained about 1,000 kinds of clean grapevines and distributed more than 700,000 clean grape-wood cuttings, buds, plants, or special seed to industry.
  • Berries – Diagnosed and cleaned about 75 new kinds of berries annually and maintained clean plant foundations that provide mother plants to industry that have produced nearly 30 million clean berry plants annually.
  • Citrus – Maintained about 1,000 kinds of clean citrus trees and delivered starter material to industry that has resulted in more than 60 million clean citrus trees over the past 8 years.
  • Hops – Maintained over 50 clean kinds of hops that are used to provide about 30 percent of the world’s need for clean hops. Over five thousand clean propagative units have been distributed to industry; each unit can be expanded rapidly to provide thousands of plants for planting annually.
  • Sweetpotato – Add about 40 new kinds of sweetpotatoes annually, with 170 kinds currently available for use by industry in addition to numerous heirlooms and introductions maintained. Over 200,000 clean starter plants were delivered to industry in 2016-2017.
  • Roses – Currently doing advanced diagnostic testing on about 600 kinds of roses that are used as starters, with a goal of trippling the starter material available to industry.

NCPN Program Fact Sheet

Learn more about NCPN

The Farm Bill—H.R. 6124 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008—became law in June 2008. Section 10202 directed the USDA Secretary of Agriculture to establish the “National Clean Plant Network” (NCPN), a program that organized a partnership of clean plant centers for diagnostic and pathogen elimination services to produce clean propagative plant material and maintain blocks of pathogen-tested plant materials in sites located throughout the United States. Clean plant material is made available to States for certified clean plant programs and to private nurseries and producers. In carrying out the NCPN, USDA consults with State departments of agriculture, land grant universities, and non-land-grant colleges of agriculture. To the extent practicable, and with appropriate State and industry input, NCPN uses existing Federal or State facilities as clean plant centers.  The program was reauthorized under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (commonly called the 2014 Farm Bill).  Section 10007 of the Farm Bill of 2014 combined the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN), formally Section 10202, with the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention program, formally Section 10201, and provided additional funding for these two programs.  The Farm Bill made the NCPN a permanent program with dedicated funding.

In FY 2009, NCPN supported 5 clean plant centers covering fruit trees and grapes.  The program expanded in FY 2010 to include more covering citrus, berries, and hops. The program repeated again in FY 2011 and 2012. Due to the lack of a Farm Bill in FY 2013, the program was unable to offer funding support that fiscal year. The program was reauthorized under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (also known as the 2014 Farm Bill) and re-issued its NCPN Cooperative Agreement Request for Applications (RFA) in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, expanding the program further to include support for sweet potatoes and roses as well as select special initiatives including planning, education/outreach, economics, data management, and quality control.

The concept for the Network began in November 2006 when representatives from the nursery industry, the grower community, the National Plant Board (NPB), other state regulatory agencies, the land-grant university system, and USDA formed a steering committee to review existing “clean plant programs,” prioritize a list of specialty crops for funding, and propose an NCPN implementation process.

USDA APHIS later sponsored a national workshop in Riverdale, Maryland, in May 2007 to implement the Network and introduce the concept to a broader stakeholder base. The workshop attendees developed the NCPN mission and vision statements as well as the draft strategic plan.

Presently, NCPN is a collaborative effort among three USDA agencies; the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for quarantine and regulatory programs, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for technology and germplasm issues, and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for outreach and partnership initiatives. The Network is administered nationally by an 8 member NCPN Governing Board (NCPN-GB).

At the core of the NCPN concept are stakeholder-driven, specialty crop-focused, clean plant-governing bodies composed of interested State, university, association, and industry partners. In 2007-2010 stakeholders representing fruit trees (pome and stone fruits), grapes, berries (strawberries, blueberries/cranberries, and cane fruit), citrus, and hops formed governing bodies entrusted with prioritizing, harmonizing, and networking clean plant activities for their specialty crop groups.  During 2014-2015 stakeholders representing sweet potatoes and roses also formed governing bodies and joined the Network. In 2017, NCPN initiated a process to renew the programs Strategic Plan.

The NCPN held general meetings in Washington, DC, in March 2009, Davis, CA, in May 2010, and Riverdale, MD, in November 2011. During these meetings, participants established general NCPN clean plant program priorities, communicated clean plant program progress reports, installed the NCPN Governing Board, discussed NCPN Farm Bill program funding strategies, talked about long-term sustainability of clean plant centers, reviewed and assessed the program’s direction and accomplishments compared to its Strategic Plan, and established a comprehensive NCPN education, extension, and outreach program. At the 2009 meeting, the NCPN Federal partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding which set the program’s cornerstone.


The NCPN produces and distributes asexually propagated plant material free of targeted plant pathogens and pests to ensure the global competitiveness of specialty crop producers and protect the environment.

The NCPN's regional centers of excellence are recognized leaders in the introduction of the highest quality, regionally adapted, true-to-type propagative plant materials that are free of targeted plant pathogens and pests, thus promoting a vigorous commercial environment and the opportunity for international trade while protecting the environment of North America. Translational research, education and extension initiatives are fully funded to maintain the network's high quality collections and strengthen its services. Industry, research and regulatory communities collaborate to ensure an abundant supply of healthy specialty crops. The economic, environmental and social sustainability of specialty crop industries and the improved economies of the communities that depend on these industries are the ultimate impacts of the NCPN's robust service delivery.

The draft NCPN business plan outlines five strategies and associated goals that are central to program implementation and project funding:

  • Organization, Governance, and Structure
  • Program Operations; including Plant Pathogen Diagnostics, Therapeutics, and the Establishment of Foundations of Clean ‘Starter’ Plants
  • Methods and Technologies Development
  • Extension, Education, and Outreach
  • Program Performance, Quality Assurance, and Review


Other Resources

The stakeholder-driven National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) was created to protect U.S. specialty crops such as grapes, nuts, fruit trees, citrus and berries from the spread of economically harmful plant pests and diseases. For more information, visit the Stakeholder Driven NCPN website hosted by the University of California – Davis.


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