“The growers and the industry just committed $440,000 to protect budwood sources to keep them clean, to keep commercial nursery stock clean,” Prewett said.
“We may be playing catch up, but we’re trying to get there as quickly as we can.”
More than 85% of California’s citrus crops are headed for the fresh domestic and export markets. Because it has no domestic citrus crops, Canada, the state’s No. 1 export customer, is not directly affected by the HLB scare, Nelsen said, but some countries such as Australia have expressed concern.
“We have to do a comprehensive trapping program for some of our overseas customers, so that they know where the psyllids are and that we’re ensuring the pests are not on the fruit,” he said.
The millions of dollars the industry is providing to fight the pest and HLB signal the belief California citrus will be available long term, Hill said.