The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that $1.5 million in funding will be made available to expand bio-control efforts to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack created a Huanglongbing multi-agency coordination group (HLB MAC Group) in December. This is the first funding for these efforts made available by the group. The HLB MAC Group serves to coordinate and prioritize Federal research with industry's efforts to complement and fill research gaps, reduce unnecessary duplication, speed progress, and more quickly provide practical tools for citrus growers to use. It also fosters greater coordination among federal and state agencies in responding to citrus greening.
California, Florida and Texas have all signed cooperative agreements with USDA that will allow them to coordinate in fighting the disease. The $1.5 million in announced funding made the cooperative agreements possible. The cooperative agreements will help facilitate a significant increase in the production of a parasitic wasp known to control populations of the pest that spreads the disease in citrus trees, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP).
The California Citrus Research Board and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), will be responsible for overseeing the cooperative agreement in California.
USDA also announced the appointments of three individuals to serve on the Citrus Disease Subcommittee of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board's Specialty Crop Committee. One of those named is WG member Justin D. Brown, Vice President and General Manager, D Bar J Orchards, Inc. in Orange Cove, California.
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