Plant disease epidemics are responsible for millions of tons of yield loss from crops annually. To provide sufficient nutritious food, feed, fiber and fuel for a growing world human population on a non-expanding land resource, yield loss caused by plant pathogens must be minimized. The Northern Great Plains region (NGP) of the United States is a major crop producing region but crop production in this region is threatened by climate variability, new pathogen or pathogen race development, limited in-field management practices, pathogen synergism, and fungicide resistance in some fungal pathogens. To sustain stable food, feed, fiber and fuel production from plants, concerted efforts from all stakeholders must be harnessed to develop new varieties that are resistant to plant pathogens and less sensitive to climate variability, promote use of integrated disease management (that incorporates resistant/tolerant varieties, plant disease prediction and accurate disease diagnosis and assessment), and enhance early detection capabilities of new pathogens/races. Here, we review the current and near future likely plant disease epidemic concerns in the NGP of the U.S. and we propose some actions to prevent or lessen the extent of the next plant disease epidemic development.
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