Feb. 10, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced that the agency will provide $30 million in additional funding for research on citrus greening disease. The plant malady is now present throughout the state’s commercial groves.
During a Feb. 9 announcement, Vilsack said, “Citrus greening disease has been an issue for some time and is obviously a significant and serious threat to the citrus industry, particularly in the state of Florida.” He added that citrus production here has an economic impact of $9 billion on Florida’s economy and helps sustain, directly or indirectly, 76,000 jobs.
Funding has been made available through the 2014 farm bill and a multi-agency coordinating group that helps guide research on the disease. The money will be applied to the development of both short-term tools for control and greening-resistant cultivars.
One of the prime objectives of the research projects will be the development of greening-resistant cultivars. Researchers at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center and at the main campus will receive more than $13 million from the allocation.
A UF/IFAS study concluded that the disease cost growers $3.6 billion in lost revenue between 2006 and 2012 and also forced the loss of more than 6,600 jobs.
For more information about the USDA funding announcement, visit http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/02/0032.xml&contentidonly=true.