National Clean Plant Network- Hops’ mission is to assist in the production of high quality asexually propagated hop plants free of targeted plant pathogens and pests that cause economic loss, to protect the environment and ensure the global competitiveness of specialty crop producers.
While several plant viruses can infect hop plants, the disease of greatest concern is caused by hop stunt viroid. This disease, first spotted in Pacific Northwest hop yards in 2004, stunts the growth of hop bines reducing yield and quality. By 2005 evident suggests the disease spread through new plants propagated from hop stunt infected plants.
In a proactive move, the hop industry petitioned the National Clean Plant Network for membership. NCPN formally recognized and funded National Clean Plant Network – Hops in 2010. NCPN-Hops is one of five specialty crop groups funded through the U.S. Farm Bill. The bill directs the USDA to create a program under which:
- Centers focus on diagnostic and pathogen elimination services
- Partnerships of clean plant centers are organized
- Activities produce clean propagative plant material
This mission will be achieved through the following goals:
- NCPN-Hops will provide safe sources of selections from private and public programs.
- NCPN-Hops will establish and maintain foundation mother plants to provide clean planting stock to industry within prescribed state and federal certification schemes.
- NCPN-Hops will establish and coordinate working relationships with and among appropriate entities that certify plants for planting.
- NCPN-Hops 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-Hops will encourage, develop and engage all possible extension, education and outreach resources that will interact with and train key stakeholders, such as commercial nurserires and growers, to ensure the successful dissemination and use of NCPN products and services. Grower education is an important component of NCPN-Hops.
- NCPN-Hops will provide a forum to discuss enhancing the systems approach to distribution, exchange and introduction of new varieties.