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US Agriculture Secretary announces $23 million available for citrus greening research

Posted: 2 April 2015 | Victoria White | No comments yet

The US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, has announced the availability of $23 million in USDA funding for citrus greening disease research…

citrus greening

The US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, has announced the availability of $23 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding to support research and extension projects for producers fighting citrus greening disease. 

citrus greening

Huanglongbing (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening or yellow dragon disease, threatens the future viability of the citrus industry in North America, having infected more than 75 percent of the Florida citrus crop. This funding is available through the Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE), part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Citrus greening is threatening the livelihoods of citrus producers and workers

“Citrus greening threatens citrus production in the United States and other nations,” said Vilsack. “It will take continued collaboration with growers, state governments, and researchers to find viable solutions to end this harmful disease. Only long-term solutions through research will help to stop this disease that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of citrus producers and workers and billions of dollars in sales.”

Since the initial detection of Huanglongbing in Florida in 2005, the disease has affected the vast majority of Florida’s citrus-producing areas. HLB has also been has also been detected in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 14 states in Mexico. A total of 15 states or territories are under full or partial quarantine due to the detected presence of the Asian citrus psyllid, a vector for HLB.

The CDRE grants will be administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

In fiscal year 2014, NIFA awarded $23 million to fight citrus greening through CDRE. Examples of funded projects include a grant to the University of Florida to develop a bactericide that can be applied to infected citrus trees to reduce or eliminate pathogens, a project at Kansas State University to develop a therapeutic delivery system that will prevent Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus from infecting plants or prevent the development of HLB in infected citrus, and a grant at the University of California-Davis that focuses on using new genetic approaches to managing the Asian citrus psyllid that causes HLB.

For more information about citrus greening, please visit www.saveourcitrus.org/citrus-greening.

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