Public Release: 

Media advisory: USDA officials to address critical plant pest, disease detection

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2016 - Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, Plant Protection and Quarantine Division, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will be key speakers at the National Meeting of the USDA's National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) March 9 in Arlington, Va. The conference is a gathering of scientists who monitor the introduction and occurrence of insects, nematodes and pathogens of plants across the United States. The network is funded in part by a $6.7 million grant through the USDA/NIFA Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative, which aims to improve on early detection and rapid response to pest outbreaks that can adversely impact our nation's food crops and agricultural economy.

The NPDN is the premier plant diagnostic system with the ability to quickly detect and accurately identify plant pests and pathogens and to communicate timely and accurate information.


  • Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Topic: Plant Health: A Priority for National and Global Food Security

  • Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection & Quarantine

Topic: Safeguarding Plant Health While Protecting Global Trade


On-the-record discussion of plant health threats and a land-grant university partnership that is a key mitigation mechanism to protect agriculture.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 9, 2016, beginning at 8 a.m. EST

The speaker's portion of the conference continues through Thursday afternoon, March 10. A full agenda is available at


DoubleTree by Hilton, Crystal City, 300 Army Navy Dr., Arlington, Virginia 22202

Please RSVP to

An electronic press kit is available online for more information about the National Plant Diagnostic Network.


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