Healthy plants are able to grow and produce in the face of environmental stress, pests, and competition. The nation’s food supply relies upon sufficient sources of healthy plants. A range of variables affect plant health, including the surrounding environment and the extent to which they are protected from pests and disease.
Importance of Plant Health
Healthy plants are vital to sustainable and profitable crop production and to the quality and cost of the nation’s supply of food, fuel, and fiber. Health is also critical to plants used for ornamentals, natural resources, and animal feed. Scientists are using innovative methods to breed more productive and nutritious crops. Advances in breeding and genetics are allowing farmers to grow plant varieties that are healthier and more resilient to drought and losses from pests and diseases.
NIFA programs support the development of strategies and innovative practices to achieve optimum crop productivity with minimal adverse environmental impacts. Scientists funded by NIFA are working with farmers and the agricultural industry to:
- Breed plant varieties that are productive under various environmental conditions and better able to withstand pests and disease
- Identify and manage plant diseases
- Enable crops to adapt to climate change and associated extremes of drought, flooding, temperatures and other stressors