Proceedings 2004

Indiana Crop Adviser Conference

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First Detector

CCA's As First Detectors---An Integral Component of the National Plant Diagnostic Network

Following 9-11, the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) was created with funding from the Department of Homeland Security to help protect the citizens of the United States from acts of Agricultural Bioterrorism. NPDN funding has been earmarked for improving diagnostic capabilities at Land Grant University Plant Disease Diagnostic Facilities, establishing a network for shared diagnostic data and secure communications and providing educational programs and materials on non-endemic or invasive species that could threaten our agricultural productivity. The NPDN depends on the trained eyes of first detectors in the field to spot new and unusual pests. You, as Certified Crop Advisors (CCA’s), are an important target audience for NPDN first detector training. You need to know: How to recognize something new; how to respond to an unusual find; how to submit a quality and secure sample and how to incorporate digitally assisted diagnosis into the identification process. You, as CCA’s trained in the art and science of diagnosis, will serve as an ‘army’ of skilled first detectors, able to discern what is normal so as to detect the abnormal and protect our agricultural resources.

Pictorial Guide for Identification of Asian Soybean Rust

Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory Submission Form

Gail Ruhl Interim Director
Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue

Biography:  Gail Ruhl has been a plant disease diagnostician in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University since 1979. She received her BS degree in Plant Sciences from Cornell University, and her MS in Plant Pathology from Purdue University. She has more than 25 years of experience in plant problem diagnosis, particularly in the diseases of agronomic crops and has presented numerous lectures and hand-on-workshops on plant disease diagnosis to both commercial agriculture groups and general audiences. She is the co-author of the Pictorial Guide to Diseases of Corn, Soybean and Wheat (available on the web) and has authored and co-authored book chapters, journal articles and extension publications on the diagnosis of plant diseases. She maintains a web page ( with current information on plant pests of concern and currently provides leadership for the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue as an Interim Director.

Karen Rane
Purdue University