In 1919, eleven states, the Territory of Hawaii, the Canadian Province of British Columbia and the Mexico District of Lower California met and organized the Western Plant Board for the purpose of discussing and developing uniformity in conducting plant protection work. The Western Plant Board later grew to its current size. The remaining states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico were organized into three separate regional plant boards in 1925. The National Plant Board was created the same year.

The Plant Board System of the United States

What is the National Plant Board?

The National Plant Board is a non-profit organization of the plant pest regulatory agencies of each of the states, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Guam.  Member agencies must be members in good standing of the regional plant board in which their state or commonwealth is located.


Purposes of the National Plant Board as stated in its Articles of Incorporation include:

  1. To provide national representation for the Eastern Plant Board, the Southern Plant Board, the Central Plant Board, and the Western Plant Board, and to receive, consider and implement to the extent possible, all regional plant board recommendations.
  2. To foster effective and harmonized plant health programs; to act as an information clearinghouse on plant pest prevention and regulatory matters; to provide for a discussion of principles, policies and methods; and to make recommendations to the regional boards for the promotion of efficiency, harmony and uniformity in and among the states in the field of plant pest prevention and regulation.
  3. To collaborate and communicate effectively with public and private agencies and organizations on plant health and plant pest regulatory issues which affect the states.
  4. To protect agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and the environment on state, national and international levels.

The National Plant Board Members

Membership of the National Plant Board is made up of the principal plant pest regulatory officials of each member commonwealth and state. This person is usually the administrator of the section of his or her state’s Department of Agriculture which deals with pest prevention. Such units usually carry titles such as Plant Industry, Plant Health, Entomologist, State Plant Pathologist, etc. In some states the function is in an agency other than the department of agriculture.

With whom does the National Plant Board Work?

National Plant Board members work cooperatively with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), Forest Service (USFS), and Agriculture Research Service (ARS) to prevent the entry of new pests and diseases into the country. They inspect plants and commodities for export so that required phytosanitary certification can be provided. They also provide consultation from the state perspective by serving on technical and advisory committees established by co-operators. Members all are actively involved in working with groups, industries and the general public as needed, to prevent the development of plant pest problems and to solve those problems which do occur.

National Plant Board Formation

The National Plant Board was formed in 1925 with a membership composed of two members each from the Western Plant Board, Eastern Plant Board, Southern Plant Board and Central Plant Board. The Board functioned with these eight members until 1976 when the constitution was amended to give membership to all states and territories.

National Plant Board Historical Records

Historical records of the National Plant Board have been placed in the Kansas State Historical Society, Library and Archive Division, 6425 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66615, Phone: 785-272-8681. These records may be accessed by authorized members of the National Plant Board by contacting the society. The Central Plant Board, Southern Plant Board and Horticultural Inspection Society papers have also been deposited with the Kansas State Historical Society.

Questions or comments regarding National Plant Board issues or the website, please click here.

Last Modified: March 2018