The National Clean Plant Network (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 Farm Bill - H.R. 6124 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 - became law in June 2008. Section 10202 directs the USDA Secretary of Agriculture to establish the “National Clean Plant Network” (NCPN), a program under which a partnership of clean plant centers is organized 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 may then be made available to States for certified clean plant programs and to private nurseries and producers. In carrying out the NCPN, USDA shall consult with State departments of agriculture, land grant universities, and non-land-grant colleges of agriculture. Additionally, to the extent practicable, and with appropriate State and industry input, NCPN shall use existing Federal or State facilities to serve as clean plant centers. The program was reauthorized under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (commonly called the Farm Bill of 2014). 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 initiated its Cooperative Agreement program by supporting 5 clean plant centers covering fruit trees and grapes. The program was expanded in FY 2010 to cover a greater number of clean plant centers and expanded to include 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 through an FY 2013 Cooperative Agreements program. The program was reauthorized under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (also known as the Farm Bill 2014) and has re-issued its NCPN Cooperative Agreement Request for Applications (RFA) again in 2014, 2015, and 2016, expanding the program further to include support for sweet potatoes and roses.
As a concept, 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 at 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).
Basic to 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 sweetpotatoes and roses also formed governing bodies and joined the Network.
The NCPN held general meetings in Washington, DC in March 2009, Davis, CA in May 2010, and in Riverdale, MD in November 2011. Highlights of these meetings included establishing general NCPN clean plant program priorities, communicating clean plant program progress reports, the installation of the NCPN Governing Board, discussions on NCPN Farm Bill program funding strategies, talks on clean plant center long-term sustainability, a review and assessment of the programs direction and accomplishments as compared against its Strategic Plan and the establishment of 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:
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.
Email us at NCPN@aphis.usda.gov