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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
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The National Clean Plant Network

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 U.S. specialty crop producers.

Fiscal Year 2023 

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 FY 2023, APHIS will provide at least $7.5 million to support NCPN clean plant projects nationally.

The fiscal year (FY) 2023 open period for submitting proposals to implement the NCPN program is now closed. Open Period lasted 12 weeks from June 13, 2022, through September 2, 2022. 

Open Period Related Materials

Resources for Applicants

For your convenience, the FY 2022 spending plan is also available.

Information about the National Clean Plant Network 

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 - Maintain approximately 2,250 clean fruit tree accessions in foundations (blocks of pathogen-tested plant materials) that have delivered more than 500,000 cuttings, scions, and plantlets as well as more than 1.7 million buds to nurseries and growers.
  • Grapes – Maintain approximately 1,000 selections of clean grapevine accessions in foundations and distribute more than 700,000 clean grape-wood cuttings, buds, plants, or special seed to industry.
  • Berries – Diagnose and clean approximately 75 new berry accessions annually and maintain clean plant foundations that provide mother plants to industry that have produced nearly 30 million clean berry plants annually.
  • Citrus – Maintain approximately 1,000 clean citrus tree accessions in foundations and deliver ‘starter material’ to industry that has resulted in more than 60 million clean citrus trees over the past 8 years.
  • Hops – Maintain more than 50 clean hop selections in foundations that are used to accommodate about 30 percent of the world’s need for clean hops.  The program has distributed more than five thousand clean propagative units to industry; each unit can be expanded rapidly to provide thousands of plants for planting annually.
  • Sweet potato – Add approximately 40 new sweet potato accessions annually to existing foundations, with 170 accessions currently available for use by industry in addition to numerous heirlooms and introductions maintained.  Clean plant centers delivered more than 200,000 clean plants to industry in 2016-2017.
  • Roses – Continued advanced testing of approximately 600 rose selections currently maintained in foundations, with 6 acres currently housing rose clean plant material with a goal of reaching an industry need of 15 acres in foundational material.

NCPN Program Fact Sheet 

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 2014 Farm Bill made the NCPN a permanent program with dedicated funding.

The program is now codified under the Plant Protection Act Section 7721.

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 and made permanent under the Agriculture Act of 2014 (also known as the 2014 Farm Bill) and recodified under Plant Protection Act, Section 7721, paragraphs (e) and (g).  The program re-issued its NCPN Cooperative Agreement Request for Applications (RFA) in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, 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, a process which is still ongoing.

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.

Healthy Agriculture through Clean Plants.

Safeguarding and supporting specialty crops, by providing a sustainable source of clean plant material through innovation, collaboration, translational science and outreach.

To establish a network of clean plant centers for diagnostic and pathogen elimination services to produce clean propagative plant material and to maintain blocks of pathogen-tested plant material in sites located throughout the United States.

The draft updated NCPN strategic 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 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 NCPN website hosted by the University of California – Davis.


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