Protecting the health of our nation's crops is becoming an increasingly important and difficult task. The passage of trade agreements has increased the flow of fruits, vegetables, and propagative plant materials across our borders making the United States more susceptible to plant pests and diseases. The possible introduction of foreign plant pests and diseases, coupled with current efforts to control pests and diseases already inhabiting the United States, and the phase out of methyl bromide use, make the need for 1) federal-state collaboration and cooperation in program delivery and 2) basic and applied research more important than ever. Research should be aimed at preventing the introduction of pathogens, controlling plant pest and diseases and developing new methods for reducing and eliminating potential plant health hazards during the production process.
The consumption of and demand for fresh fruit and vegetables and propagative plant materials continues to grow and the agricultural industry must strengthen its efforts to integrate plant health and management programs. Facilitating the transfer of information and technology from the laboratory to the producer/consumer will ensure an adequate and safe supply of food, feed and fuel products.