The Asian citrus psyllid spreads citrus greening disease, aka huanglongbing. ( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and other groups have invested nearly $47 million in research over the past six years through the Huanglongbing Multiagency Coordination Group.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and other entities in the group — known as HLB MAC — are focused on research and development projects to give citrus growers a way to fight against HLB, also known as citrus greening. The disease doesn't affect human health, but damages citrus, making it unmarketable.

Projects have focused on controlling the Asian citrus psyllid, which spreads the disease, infected tree therapies, technology to protect new plantings and ways to detect the disease earlier, according to a news release.

This year, the group is focusing on “shovel-ready” projects that are ready to move from the lab to the grove. HLB MAC will announce funding decisions on projects in early July.

Research and development remains a priority, according to the release.

“APHIS is currently working with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service to establish funding opportunities that will support long-term innovation and further advance methods for combating citrus greening disease,” according to the APHIS release.

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