What a Clean Stock Program?
Benefits of the Clean Plant Programs
Healthy planting stock is key to the cost-effective production of horticultural crops such as fruit trees, nut trees, and grapevines. It is easier to propagate, requires fewer chemical inputs, and produces higher crop yields and better crop quality than common planting stock. Healthy planting stock is necessary for U.S. agriculture to remain internationally competitive and economically viable.
The most efficient approach to producing healthy planting stock is through programs which screen valuable plant selections for viruses and other diseases that can be spread by contaminated plant stock. Quarantine services provided by clean stock programs reduce the chance of introduction of exotic pests that can be difficult and costly to control.
The Background of the Programs
It takes many years to establish the healthy live plant collections that are the core of clean stock programs. Clean planting stock programs use disease detection, pathogen elimination techniques, and isolation strategies to produce, maintain, and propagate healthy planting stock. United States' programs for producing clean planting stock for several key horticultural crops are in jeopardy due to the lack of public funding.
The technology used to create healthy planting stock is becoming faster, more accurate, and more expensive. U.S. clean plant programs must use state-of-the-art technology to ensure that our producers stay competitive in the global market. Program continuity is critical because these collections must be continually protected from infection, monitored for disease, farmed, and documented. It would take decades of work to recover from disruptions in funding for a single year because of the risk to these collections.
The goal of the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) is sustained national funding for clean planting stock programs of key horticultural crops, such as grapes and fruit and nut trees.
Funding supports centers with the expertise, facilities, and desirable climates to efficiently produce, maintain, and distribute healthy planting stock for those crops. Advisory committees that include industry representatives and researchers from throughout the country are an essential part of the equation for communicating priorities to the NCPN.