Florida’s legislature has approved a 2017 budget that includes $23 million for the state’s citrus industry. Combined with the $61 million 2016-17 federal budget agreement reached in Congress this month, the state’s citrus industry receives funding needed to continue several vital programs.

“This year has been an overwhelming success as legislators once again acknowledged the importance of what we do by investing in Florida citrus,” Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Michael Sparks said in an e-mail to members of Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual.

The state budget includes:

  • $8 million to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation Inc., Lake Alfred, for research on citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing (HLB).  That is similar to what the foundation received in the past several years;
  • $7 million for the Citrus Health Response Program, a joint state-federal effort to help growers deal with HLB and other diseases and pests;
  • $4 million in general revenue for Florida Department of Citrus marketing programs;
  • $2.5 million for Citrus Crop Decline Supplemental Funding;
  • $1 million for Biological HLB Field Trials; and
  • $650,000 for New Varieties Development and Management Corp.

The federal budget measure, which funds the government to Sept. 30, includes:

  • $53.8 million for its share of the Citrus Health Response Program; and
  • $7.5 million for a federal multi-agency task force on HLB research.