The citrus industry is a huge money-generating, job-creating industry.
The Florida citrus industry alone generates a $9 billion annual economic impact and employs nearly 76,000 people. So, huge is an understatement.
Given its impact, it’s no wonder why the industry is in a state of panic over the on-going citrus greening epidemic – a devastating citrus disease that continues to expand without the promise of a cure. This disease significantly threatens the industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on it. What’s more, it also has the potential to impact consumers, as it could hike up fruit and juice prices if proper action isn’t taken.
As this fast-growing disease continues to wreak havoc on the industry at large, and potentially consumers, funding is becoming more and more essential, as it supports research, management, and monitoring strategies, among other things.
That’s why the recent announcement of funds specifically intended to combat the disease comes as a major relief to the industry. Over $1.5 million in funding is now set aside to better Florida, Texas, and California’s ability to manage populations of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) — the pest that is responsible for infecting citrus trees — on a greater scale. Urban locations where citrus trees grow in yards and organic orchards will also be covered by this special funding.
To further aid the citrus greening battle, three new members were recently appointed to serve on the citrus disease subcommittee, which advises the Secretary of Agriculture on citrus research, extension, and development priorities; consults and collaborates with the USDA; and offers recommendations for citrus disease research and extension strategies.
All good, promising news for the industry!
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