Efforts to combat devastating citrus diseases remained the focus at this year’s Florida Citrus Show.

Florida's citrus show focuses on diseaseCo-sponsored by the Vero Beach, Fla.-based Indian River Citrus League, the Jan. 23-24 show in Fort Pierce, Fla., featured sessions that covered a variety of topics focusing on agronomic issues.

Doug Bournique, the league’s executive vice president, opened the show’s Jan. 23 sessions and welcomed attendees.

He spoke about the industry’s efforts to fight diseases including huanglongbing, also known as HLB and citrus greening.

Florida's citrus show focuses on diseaseBournique discussed a mid-January trip to Florida’s capitol organized by the Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual to secure $9 million in research funding, the largest amount the industry has requested in state assistance.

He said growers and Florida Citrus Mutual are doing all the right things to secure funding and working to eradicate the diseases.

“You can just feel it,” Bournique said. “There’s a better pulse to it now. People are digging in and are looking at what they need to do to move forward.

“They’re looking at the right varieties and rootstalks,” he said. “It makes a difference as some rootstalks are better than others, which the data shows, and the growers are listening.”

Other sessions focused on labor and new varieties. The Bartow-based Florida Department of Citrus gave an update on the grapefruit situation and the agency’s marketing programs.

Show ponsors said more than 500 attended the event, similar to past shows.