• Blossom-end rot of tomato, caused by insufficient calcium. Photo by Dhruba Dhakal.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic has received a grant to help Amish and Mennonite farmers in several Missouri counties identify and manage plant pest problems through early next year. The grant is from the Regional Integrated Pest Management Center in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility efforts.

To assist in horticulture crop production among Amish and Mennonite communities, the clinic is offering free diagnostic services from March 1, 2024, to Feb. 28, 2025. The free services include insect identification, weed identification and plant disease diagnosis that detects fungal, bacterial and viral diseases as well as abiotic factors.

Beginning in May, MU Extension horticulture specialists Dhruba Dhakal and Ramon Arancibia will visit the communities in Audrain, Morgan, Hickory, Dallas, Henry and Vernon counties during the local auction days, offering free diagnostic consultation services to growers with inquiries about plant health issues and collecting samples for further diagnosis by the clinic. The diagnostic reports will be either delivered either by mail or physically dropped off by the specialists.

The turnaround time for diagnosing plant diseases is critical, said Peng Tian, director of the clinic.

“Many factors can sometimes cause the delay of this process, such as shipment issues, lack of communications, reporting problems, payment processing, etc.,” Tian said. “With these free services, as well as the active involvement of field specialists, the effectiveness of communication between the clinic and growers will rise. These growers can quickly implement plans and limit the progress of the diseases by receiving timely, accurate and informative diagnostic reports in addition to a useful, customized plan for controlling the disease based on their agricultural settings, environmental factors and weather conditions.”

Learn more about the MU Plant Diagnostic Clinic at

Media Contact