CCM praises Governor’s decision to help fund fight against ACP, HLB
Gov. Jerry Brown issues budget that carves out $2.5 million to prevent the spread of devastating citrus disease
EXETER – The pest known as the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is becoming much more than a mild irritant to growers. With their infectious Huanglongbing (HLB) disease’s devastating effect on citrus, as has been played out on a national scale from Florida to southern California, industry scientists are in need of any resources they can find to fight it off. Fortunately, Governor Jerry Brown has shown his clear and present interest in combating the disease with the release of his budget, and California Citrus Mutual (CCM) has taken notice.
“Once again Governor Brown indicates his support for the California citrus industry with the sustained financial commitment to the ACP/HLB battle being waged in California,” states CCM president Joel Nelsen. “The inclusion of $2.5 million dollars in this year’s budget follows last year’s significant commitment and augments the $15-$18 million put forth by growers annually.”
HLB is a devastating disease that has reduced Florida’s production by 70 percent as the industry battles against all odds. “We have been lucky to date,” Nelsen continues, “as we were able to put a program together before the disease and the bug had a chance to gain a foothold in commercial groves. Unfortunately, the disease is spreading in the backyards of Los Angeles, Orange County, and locales south. Finding the disease before it finds the industry has always been the goal, and this budget allocation once again recognizes the scope of the fight.”
Over 200 trees in backyards have been found to have the disease. State policy requires they be removed so as not to become a reservoir for additional inspection. Analyzing tree material, trapping, and detection are major areas of expenditures. Additionally, the industry allocates over a million dollars a year in educational efforts which has created a strong partnership with homeowners as they assist in this endeavor. General fund financial support helps solidify that cooperation.
An industry advisory committee works hand in hand with California’s Department of Agriculture to successfully create a program that is being copied in other production areas.
About CCM: CCM is the only advocacy organization representing CA citrus growers on the economic, regulatory, and political issues that impact them most. Their 2,500 members represent 75% of California’s 270,000-acre, $3.3 billion citrus industry