The Agricultural Bioterrorism Act of 2002 directed the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to develop a network of diagnostic facilities for animal and plant diseases and pests. The National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) focuses on plant diseases; it links Land Grant universities into a cohesive network designed to quickly detect and diagnose diseases and disseminate information concerning high-consequence plant pathogens, insects, weeds, and other biological pests. NPDN focuses on detecting deliberate acts of agricultural bioterrorism and accidental introductions of exotic pests.
NPDN allows Land Grant diagnosticians, state and federal regulatory personnel, and first detectors to efficiently communicate information, images, and detection methods in a timely manner. Using established protocols, NPDN participants immediately report their concerns and findings to appropriate state and federal responders and decision makers.
NPDN is divided into five regions, each with a lead university that coordinates regional activities. Regional centers are located at Cornell University (Northeast region), Michigan State University (North Central region), Kansas State University (Great Plains region), University of Florida at Gainesville (Southern region), and University of California at Davis (Western region). Regional centers ensure all participating Land Grant university and state diagnostic facilities are alerted to possible outbreaks and/or introductions and technologically equipped to rapidly detect and identify pests and pathogens. The National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) at Purdue University serves as the central repository for archiving select data collected from regions.
NPDN does not implement quarantines or other response actions. As mandated by regulatory statute, all regulatory actions are coordinated through state departments of agriculture and the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Additionally, pest control recommendations or programs are generally implemented through regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers, state IPM coordinators, or local extension specialists.