Florida Citrus Mutual is urging the state’s citrus growers to approve renewing a state marketing order that funds citrus research.
On Nov. 16, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Tallahassee, began mailing ballots to citrus growers and marketers.
The ballots — due Dec. 9 —decide if the industry should continue grower assessments to fund the Citrus Production Marketing Order for another six years.
Mike Sparks, citrus mutual’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said in a news release the assessment has become more important with diseases such as huanglongbing (HLB), the bacterial disease that causes citrus greening and canker, in Florida groves.
“It is very important that growers take part in the process,” Sparks said in the release. “The industry’s crucial research effort is at stake. HLB is spreading across Florida at a breakneck pace and it’s important we continue the research push to defeat it. Mutual is strongly encouraging growers to vote ‘yes’ and mail their ballots back in immediately.”
The ballot asks growers to increase the assessment cap from 1 cent to 3 cents per equivalent box of citrus sold. It also has the Florida Citrus Research and Development Foundation Inc., Lake Alfred, administering the funds.
Along with citrus mutual, industry organizations such as the Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Commission, and associations such as the Indian River Citrus League, Vero Beach, Fla., the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, Sebring, Fla., and the Gulf Citrus Growers Association, LaBelle, Fla., have endorsed continuation of the citrus research order.