BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is directing $25 million in funding for research to fight citrus greening.
On June 12, the USDA released news of the funding availability for research and cooperative extension service projects to stop citrus greening, also known as HLB and huanglongbing.
USDA authorized another $6.5 million, bringing the total to $31.5 million, for projects through the HLB multi-agency coordination group, which the industry refers to as MAC.
The USDA is calling for research that focuses on solutions for all citrus producing states, according to a news release.
- The plans also support these projects:Testing antimicrobials that show promise in combating HLB;
- Thermotherapy which can kill the HLB bacteria and allow trees to regain productivity; and
- Establishing groves to produce healthy crops even in the presence of HLB, according to the release.
During a June 12 industry luncheon at Florida Citrus Mutual’s annual conference, Edward Avalos, USDA’s undersecretary of marketing and regulatory programs, told growers they have USDA’s support.
“Citrus greening is on my mind and on Secretary (Tom) Vilsack’s mind,” Avalos said. “When we think about the future of the citrus industry, you need to have promising tools. These projects are something different and show promise and hopefully will show promise in the very near future.”
The funding is from the 2014 farm bill and fund the Citrus Disease Research and Education Program.