The National Clean Plant Network – Fruit Trees is one of five specialty crop groups funded by the National Clean Plant Network. Section 102020 of the 2008 Farm Bill (H.R. 6124 Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008) directs the USDA to create a program under which:
- Partnerships of clean plant centers are organized
- Centers focus on diagnostic and pathogen elimination services
- Activities produce clean propagative plant material
- Centers maintain blocks of pathogen-tested plant materials in sites throughout the United States
Predecessors of NCPN-FT trace back to the 1940s when severe disease problems plagued the country’s orchards. Farmers, commercial nurseries and the state departments of agriculture banded together with state agricultural schools to find ways to identify and control viruses.
The result was the establishment in 1955 of a program identified by several names including Interregional Project No. 2 (IR-2), National Research Support Project 5 (NRSP-005) and now the NCPN-FT. With each name change the goal remained the same: eliminate viruses before they can do damage in the orchard.
The National Clean Plant Network- Fruit Trees’ mission is to provide the greater fruit tree community with virus-tested propagation material or fruit and nursery stock production. NCPN-FT will also provide material for research and virus detection programs. This safe exchange of virus-tested tree fruit propagation material protects the fruit tree industry from disease, improves productivity and opens global markets to our growers, nurseries and tree fruit breeders.
This mission will be achieved through the following goals:
- NCPN-FT will provide rapid and safe introduction and release of selections from foreign and domestic sources.
- NCPN-FT will establish and maintain foundation mother blocks (G1) to provide clean planting stock to industry within prescribed state and federal certification schemes.
- NCPN-FT will establish and coordinate working relationships with and among appropriate entities that certify plants for planting.
- NCPN-FT will develop and promote best management practices that will be used by industry to maintain pathogen- and pest-indexed status of plants for planting.
- NCPN-FT will encourage, develop and engage all possible extension, education and outreach resources that will interact with and train key stakeholders, such as commercial nurseries and growers, to ensure the successful dissemination and use of NCPN-FT products and services.
- NCPN-FT will provide a forum to discuss enhancing the systems approach to distribution of nursery stock and the safe and efficient exchange and introduction of new varieties and rootstocks.