Big Research Funds Continue to Fight Huanglongbing Disease

 $7 Million Multi-State Research Project Targets Citrus Threat HLB

UC ANR part of team led by Texas A&M AgriLife combating Huanglongbing disease

By Mike  Hsu UCANR Senior Public Information Representative

Citrus greening, or huanglongbing disease (HLB), is the most devastating disease for orange and grapefruit trees in the U.S. Prevention and treatment methods have proven elusive, and a definitive cure does not exist.

Since HLB was detected in Florida in 2005, Florida’s citrus production has fallen by 80%. Although there have been no HLB positive trees detected in commercial groves in California, more than 2,700 HLB positive trees have been detected on residential properties in the greater Los Angeles region.

“It is likely only a matter of time when the disease will spread to commercial fields, so our strategy in California is to try to eradicate the insect vector of the disease, Asian citrus psyllid,” said Greg Douhan, University of California Cooperative Extension citrus advisor for Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties.

Now, a public-private collaborative effort across Texas, California, Florida and Indiana will draw on prior successes in research and innovation to advance new, environmentally friendly and commercially viable control strategies for huanglongbing.

Led by scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the team includes three UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts: Douhan; Sonia Rios, UCCE subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties; and Ben Faber, UCCE advisor for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

$7 million USDA project

The $7 million, four-year AgriLife Research project is part of an $11 million suite of grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NIFA, to combat HLB. The coordinated agricultural project is also a NIFA Center of Excellence.

“Through multistate, interdisciplinary collaborations among universities, regulatory affairs consultants, state and federal agencies, and the citrus industry, we will pursue advanced testing and commercialization of promising therapies and extend outcomes to stakeholders,” said lead investigator Kranthi Mandadi, an AgriLife Research scientist at Weslaco and associate professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The UC ANR members of this collaboration will be responsible for sharing findings from the research with local citrus growers across Southern California, the desert region, the coastal region and the San Joaquin Valley.

“In addition to the ground-breaking research that will be taking place, this project will also help us continue to generate awareness and outreach and share the advancements taking place in the research that is currently being done to help protect California’s citrus industry,” said Rios, the project’s lead principal investigator in California.

Citrus trees in Florida suffer from HLB infection

Other institutions on the team include Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus CenterUniversity of FloridaSouthern Gardens CitrusPurdue University and USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“This collaboration is an inspiring example of how research, industry, extension and outreach can create solutions that benefit everyone,” said Patrick J. Stover, vice chancellor of Texas A&M AgriLife, dean of the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

HLB solutions must overcome known challenges

An effective HLB treatment must avoid numerous pitfalls, Mandadi explained.

One major problem is getting a treatment to the infected inner parts of the tree. The disease-causing bacteria only infect a network of cells called the phloem, which distributes nutrients throughout a tree. Starved of nutrients, infected trees bear low-quality fruits and have shortened lifespans.

Treatments must reach the phloem to kill the bacteria. So, spraying treatments on leaves has little chance of success because citrus leaves’ waxy coating usually prevents the treatments from penetrating.

Second, while the bacteria thrive in phloem, they do not grow in a petri dish. Until recently, scientists wishing to test treatments could only do so in living trees, in a slow and laborious process.

Third, orange and grapefruit trees are quite susceptible to the disease-causing bacteria and do not build immunity on their own. Strict quarantines are in place. Treatments must be tested in groves that are already infected.

Two types of potential HLB therapies will be tested using novel technologies

The teams will be working to advance two main types of treatment, employing technologies they’ve developed in the past to overcome the problems mentioned above.

First, a few years ago, Mandadi and his colleagues discovered a way to propagate the HLB-causing bacteria in the lab. This method involves growing the bacteria in tiny, root-like structures developed from infected trees. The team will use this so-called “hairy roots” method to screen treatments much faster than would be possible in citrus trees.

In these hairy roots, the team will test short chains of amino acids – peptides – that make spinach naturally resistant to HLB. After initial testing, the most promising spinach peptides will undergo testing in field trees. To get these peptides to the phloem of a tree, their gene sequences will be engineered into a special, benign citrus tristeza virus vector developed at the University of Florida. The citrus tristeza virus naturally resides in the phloem and can deliver the peptides where they can be effective.

“Even though a particular peptide may have efficacy in the lab, we won’t know if it will be expressed in sufficient levels in a tree and for enough time to kill the bacteria,” Mandadi said. “Viruses are smart, and sometimes they throw the peptide out. Field trials are crucial.”

The second type of treatment to undergo testing is synthetic or naturally occurring small molecules that may kill HLB-causing bacteria. Again, Mandadi’s team will screen the molecules in hairy roots. A multistate team will further test the efficacy of the most promising molecules by injecting them into trunks of infected trees in the field.

A feasible HLB treatment is effective and profitable

Another hurdle to overcome is ensuring that growers and consumers accept the products the team develops.

“We have to convince producers that the use of therapies is profitable and consumers that the fruit from treated trees would be safe to eat,” Mandadi said.

Therefore, a multistate economics and marketing team will conduct studies to determine the extent of economic benefits to citrus growers. In addition, a multistate extension and outreach team will use diverse outlets to disseminate project information to stakeholders. This team will also survey growers to gauge how likely they are to try the treatments.

“The research team will be informed by those surveys,” Mandadi said. “We will also engage a project advisory board of representatives from academia, universities, state and federal agencies, industry, and growers. While we are doing the science, the advisory board will provide guidance on both the technical and practical aspects of the project.”

Project team members:

—Kranthi Mandadi, Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

—Mike Irey, Southern Gardens Citrus, Florida.

—Choaa El-Mohtar, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Citrus Research and Education Center.

—Ray Yokomi, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Parlier, California.

—Ute Albrecht, University of Florida IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.

—Veronica Ancona, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center.

—Freddy Ibanez-Carrasco, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Department of Entomology, Weslaco.

—Sonia Irigoyen, AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.

—Ariel Singerman, University of Florida IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center.

—Jinha Jung, Purdue University, Indiana.

—Juan Enciso, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Weslaco.

—Samuel Zapata, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Department of Agricultural Economics, Weslaco.

—Olufemi Alabi, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Weslaco.

—Sonia Rios, University of California Cooperative Extension, Riverside and San Diego counties.

—Ben Faber, University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

—Greg Douhan, University of California Cooperative Extension, Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties.

2021-12-06T13:51:10-08:00December 6th, 2021|

Citrus Production Cost Study Available

New UC Study Outlines Costs of Growing Oranges in the San Joaquin Valley

By Pam Kan-Rice News & Information Outreach for UCANR

 

A new study outlining the costs and returns of establishing and producing navel oranges with low-volume irrigation in the southern San Joaquin Valley has been released by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“A cost study gives a ‘new’ grower a better idea of all the costs that are involved with producing the crop,” said co-author Greg Douhan, UC Cooperative Extension citrus advisor for Tulare and Fresno counties.

Real estate agents, land leasers, bankers evaluating loan applications and others can use the cost study to estimate current costs to plant and produce oranges and expected profits.

This study updates an earlier version, using as an example the Cara Cara navel, which is known for its distinctive pink-colored flesh rather than the conventional orange flesh of the Washington navel.

“The Cara Cara has been returning very good prices to growers for the past decade or so and is a relatively new navel,” said co-author Craig Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Kern County. “Of course, grower returns are driven by consumer demand. Why consumers like it so much I do not know, but I suspect it is because it tastes good and is different. You cut it and get a pink surprise. Its harvest maturity is similar to that of the Washington navel.”

The updated version takes into consideration “things like inflation, chemical availability, changes in markets both domestic and foreign, governmental regulations and other things,” Kallsen said.

The study is based on a hypothetical farm that consists of 65 contiguous acres on land in the San Joaquin Valley previously planted to another tree crop. Establishment and production costs are based on 10 acres being planted to oranges. Mature orange trees are grown on 50 acres and the remaining five acres are roads, equipment, shop area and homestead. The grower owns and farms the orchards.

The two major orange varieties grown in the San Joaquin Valley are navels and Valencias. Navels are grouped into three types by harvest timing – early, mid and late season. Due to current planting practices, only navels are included in this budget. Cara Cara is the variety of navel oranges currently most commonly planted.

The Cara Cara orange trees are planted double density, 10-by-20-foot spacing, at 218 trees per acre. At this density, it is possible to start harvesting in year 3 or 4. At year 8 or 9, full maturity is achieved and growers begin pruning back every other tree. This allows the grower to maintain yields while at the same time converting the field to 20-by-20 spacing – maximizing yield for a fully mature orchard.

For pest management, the study includes detailed information and links to UC Integrated Pest Management guidelines for citrus. The narrative contains tables of insecticide treatment cycles for establishment and production years.

The section “Exotic Pests of Economic Concern to Citrus Growers” contains information to meet quarantine regulations on exporting oranges from California to countries such as South Korea.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for oranges establishment and production, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields.

2021 – Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Oranges in the Southern San Joaquin Valley” can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Sample cost of production studies for many other commodities are also available for free on the website.

2021-09-30T19:13:25-07:00September 30th, 2021|

Teaching Kids to Cook California’s Bounty

California Farmers Donate Fruits Vegetables, Nuts and Beef to Cook

 

About 2,725 Consumer Science (formerly home economics) high school students at 15 different high schools will learn how to cook with locally grown produce and meat. The San Joaquin Chapter of California Women for Agriculture (SJ CWA), San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation (SJFB) have partnered to locate more than 500 pounds of cheese, olives, pumpkins, dry garbanzo beans, walnuts and beef for the students to cook this semester.

For three consecutive weeks starting October 22 and 29 and November 5, 2019, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the San Joaquin Office of Education in Stockton, each teacher will receive two commodities, recipes and handling material to share with their classes. The local agriculture organizations hope to both teach students what is grown locally and showcase the freshness of locally sourced produce.

The fresh pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans provided by the San Joaquin Chapter of Women for Agriculture were donated by local pumpkin grower, Van Groningen and Sons of Manteca (vgandsons.com) and the Rhodes-Stockton Bean Co-Op of Stockton. SJ CWA provides this “hands on educational” cooking opportunity for local high school students enrolled in consumer science courses to give them a snapshot of the variety of crops and commodities grown/raised in San Joaquin County. Teachers and students are provided with a variety of educational information regarding the nutritional value of each of the commodities along with cooking tips and recipes.


SJ CWA Chapter President, Dr. Marit Arana, said, “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the commodities grown and raised in our county. We are grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with our donors and for our partnerships with both the San Joaquin-Stanislaus CattleWomen and San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation. It takes a team effort to bring an educational experience of this size and scope to so many students within our county.”

San Joaquin County Agriculture is ranked seventh in the nation in dollar value at $2.5 billion and sixth out of 58 counties in the state. California produces about 400 different agriculture commodities and about half the fruits and vegetables in the United States.

###


October 22, 2019 – CWA donation of pumpkins and dry garbanzo beans

October 29, 2019 – CattleWomen donation of walnuts and beef

November 5, 2019 – SJFB donation of table olives and cheese

Pick-Up Times – From 4:00pm to 5:00pm at 2911 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA. under the solar panels in Stockton at the San Joaquin Office of Education

For information contact:
Lora Daniels
916-215-1494
SanJoaquinCWA@gmail.com

2019-11-01T16:43:07-07:00November 8th, 2019|

Any New Biological Opinions Will Get Review by CA Congress Reps

California Members Release Statement on Updated Biological Opinions for Central Valley Project

WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10), John Garamendi (CA-03), Jim Costa (CA-16), and TJ Cox (CA-21) and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released the following statement on the updated biological opinions for federally protected fish species and coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project:

“The Endangered Species Act requires periodic reviews to determine the best available science. The federal government’s science for Chinook salmon and Delta smelt was more than a decade old and needed to be updated, especially given climate change.

“We are examining the new biological opinions to ensure they incorporate the adaptive management and real-time monitoring needed to properly manage the Central Valley Project for the benefit of all Californians. The new biological opinions must also provide the scientific basis needed to finalize the voluntary settlement agreements between the State Water Resources Control Board and water users.

“We look forward to the State of California’s thoughtful analysis of the biological opinions. In Congress, we continue working to secure federal investment in the Central Valley Project to meet California’s future water needs and support habitat restoration efforts called for in the updated biological opinions.”

 

2021-05-12T11:05:01-07:00October 24th, 2019|

New HLB Research Lab Opening For Citrus

Citrus industry, UC Riverside Celebrate Opening of New Research Lab 

 By Alyssa Houtby, CA Citrus Mutual Director of Government Relations
Recently, leaders from the California citrus industry and the University of California, Riverside gathered to celebrate the grand opening of a Biosafety Level-3 Lab that will be used by researchers to identify a cure for the devastating citrus plant disease Huanglongbing, or HLB.
The state-of-the-art lab is the product of a partnership between the State’s citrus growers and UC Riverside aimed to protect California citrus trees from the deadly citrus plant disease Huanglongbing, or HLB.
“HLB is the single greatest threat to the future of the California citrus industry,” says CCRF Board Chairman and General Manager Booth Ranches LLC, Dave Smith. “The Biosafety Level-3 Lab is a testament to the industry’s proactive and optimistic spirit. In a matter of months, the citrus industry raised over $8 million to fund the construction of this facility and now, together with our partners at UC Riverside, we are one step closer to finding a cure for HLB.”

Located just 2-miles off campus on Marlborough Avenue, the lab will allow researchers to conduct work with plant pathogens that previously couldn’t be done in Southern California.

ACP UC IPM

ACP (Source: ACP UC IPM)

Construction of the $8 million lab began in 2016 and was entirely funded by the California Citrus Research Foundation through donations by citrus growers and packers.
The grand opening was marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Citrus Industry Appreciation Luncheon at which several university, government, and citrus industry leaders spoke about the significance of the lab to the future of the California citrus industry.
The disease, spread by an invasive insect called Asian citrus psyllid, has been detected in over 1,500 backyard citrus trees in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Citrus growers are proactively working to keep the disease out of commercial citrus groves until research finds a cure.
Casey Creamer, President of the non-profit grower advocacy group, California Citrus Mutual outlined the scope of the challenge and the extensive effort by citrus growers, federal, state, and local governments, and homeowners to protect all citrus trees.
“California is the largest citrus-producing region in the world that has not been ravaged by HLB. For over a decade, growers have worked proactively to protect the state’s $3.3 billion citrus industry and the millions of citrus trees in backyards. The construction of this lab and the partnership with UC Riverside is a significant milestone in the fight to save California citrus,” said Creamer.
Also represented at the event was the industry-funded Citrus Research Board (CRB). “The industry has invested millions of dollars over the past 10 years into research on Asian citrus psyllid and HLB,” said CRB Chairman Dan Dreyer. “However, research is useless without partners. I’m confident that the partnership between the Citrus Research Foundation, UC Riverside, California Citrus Mutual, and the Citrus Research Board will deliver actual solutions to the industry’s greatest challenge.”
UC Riverside has a long history of collaboration with the citrus industry and is home to the Citrus Variety Collection, the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, and the Citrus Experiment Station which was founded in 1907. 
“We are proud to continue the tradition of collaboration and partnership with the citrus industry as we work together to find solutions to HLB,” said UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox. “Citrus is an iconic part of California’s history, and the Biosafety Level-3 Lab is a natural extension of the mission of UC Riverside to enrich the state’s economic, social, cultural, and environmental future.”
 
The event was emceed by the Citrus Research Foundation Executive Director Joel Nelsen who praised the industry for its foresight and investment in research. “For over 10 years, citrus growers have partnered with government, homeowners, and the University to prevent HLB from taking hold. The construction of the Biosafety Level-3 Lab and our partnership with UC Riverside is an investment in the future of California citrus. I’m confident now more than ever that our future is bright.”
The collaboration between citrus growers and UCR drew praise by a number of local elected officials as well as State and Federal representatives in attendance.
“Not only does this lab pay homage to Riverside’s rich history in citrus cultivation and research dating back to the establishment of the Citrus Experiment Station in 1907, it builds upon that history to push us to the forefront of research critical to the survival and success of citrus cultivation in the state and nation,” stated Senator Richard D. Roth. “Thank you to UC Riverside, the California Citrus Research Foundation, and others in the industry for your partnership in this critical investment!”
Congressman Ken Calvert, unable to attend the event in person, said in a prepared statement, “The threat Huanglongbing poses to California’s commercial citrus industry cannot be overstated. The opening of the Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory for Huanglongbing Research at UC Riverside is welcome news and a critical step towards protecting our citrus from this devastating disease. All of our citrus stakeholders, including the federal government, must continue to provide the research resources necessary to end this existential threat.”
Four researchers have been approved to begin work in the Biosafety Level-3 Lab. The Citrus Research Foundation and UC Riverside will oversee the current projects as well as the selection of future projects.
2021-05-12T11:05:01-07:00October 3rd, 2019|

UCR’s Dr. Charles Coggins Memorial Service Sept. 7 2:00 pm

Coggins Served As Long Time Citrus Plant Pathologist

The family of Dr. Charlie Coggins would like to welcome all citrus industry friends to attend his memorial service at First Baptist Church 51 West Olive Avenue Redlands, California 92393

Charles W. Coggins, Jr. passed away on Aug 18, 2019 at the age of 88. Coggins served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the California Citrus Quality Council from November 1992 to January 2008. In 2003, he was presented with CCQC’s highest honor, the Albert G. Salter Memorial award which recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to and achievements in the citrus industry.

Charles Coggin

Coggins was an industry pioneer who recognized the potential advances with plant growth regulators (PGRs), beginning with gibberellic acid (GA) and continuing with programs to retain 2,4-D. It was said that his research on PGRs has been described as the single most economically beneficial research result of the last century. He authored more than 100 technical publications and nearly 50 semi-technical publications that have proved to be invaluable tools for citrus growers worldwide. He was the recipient of numerous awards for his leadership, agricultural excellence and research accomplishments.

Coggins, Professor Emeritus of Plant Physiology, officially retired from the University of California Riverside in 1994. During his 37 years at the University, he served as Chairman of the UC Riverside Department of Plant Sciences and helped create the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences. He also served 15 years as Executive Secretary/Treasurer for the International Society of Citriculture. To help succeeding generations of researchers, Coggins created The Coggins Endowed Scholarship Fund at UCR to provide financial assistance for graduate students in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences who demonstrate academic excellence, quality research and benefit to the citrus industry.

Charles Coggins inspecting citrus earlier in his career at UCR

He was born November 17, 1930 in North Carolina. He was proceeded in death by two sons from cystic fibrosis. He is survived by his wife Irene of 68 years, a son and four grandchildren. A memorial service is pending. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to support his scholarship at UCR in honor of him, to the Parkinson’s disease foundation or cystic fibrosis charities. Cards can be sent to 819 Alden Road, Redlands, CA 92373.

2019-08-23T22:35:10-07:00August 26th, 2019|

CCM Statement on Chlorpyrifos Ban

Flawed Data Forcing Cancellation

News Release From California Citrus Mutual

Recently, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced that they are going to begin the cancellation process of chlorpyrifos. The statement cites scientific findings that chlorpyrifos poses serious public health and environmental risks to vulnerable communities.SaveOurCitrus Logo

“The decision to ban chlorpyrifos is not surprising given the significant pressure from anti-pesticide groups, active legislative proposals, regulatory proceedings, and ongoing court battles,” said CCM President Casey Creamer. “However, this decision relies heavily on an evaluation that was significantly flawed and based upon unrealistic modeling scenarios that are not verifiable by actual results in DPR’s own air monitoring network.”

“California Citrus Mutual and our member growers stand by science that is sound, that properly evaluates risks and puts forward appropriate safeguards to protect ourselves, our employees, and our surrounding communities. We are committed to safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos and other crop protection tools.”

“The process for which this chemical was evaluated was purposely exaggerated to achieve the desired outcome and jeopardizes the scientific credibility of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. This decision sets a terrible precedent for future evaluations and creates a chilling effect on companies planning on making significant investments to bring new products to the market in California.”

“The citrus industry is fighting feverishly to protect itself from the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing,” Creamer continued. “In order to do so, we must have the necessary tools in the toolbox for an effective Integrated Pest Management program.”

“The once mighty citrus-producing state of Florida has lost 70% of its production due to this disease, which is expanding exponentially in residential citrus trees in Southern California at this very moment. While our commercial growers will remain vigilant, it is vital that our policymakers recognize the seriousness of the threat and ensure sound scientific procedures are followed.”

“California Citrus Mutual will continue to be actively engaged in the regulatory processes around the cancellation decision and will continue to explore all potential remedies to allow the safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos.”

2021-05-12T11:05:03-07:00May 14th, 2019|

Reducing ACP Spread In California

Beth Grafton-Cardwell: Spread of Disease Must Be Prevented

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Collaborative changes are being made to combat the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP). Beth Grafton-Cardwell is the director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center near Exeter, as well as a research entomologist with UC Riverside. She recently spoke at the 2019 Citrus Showcase in Visalia as a key speaker on the state of Huanglongbing (HLB) in California, with an overview of how to prevent ACP,—which vectors HLB, a fatal disease to citrus—from moving around the state.

We were trying to communicate why we’ve made the changes we’ve made for the industry that has been a collaborative effort between CDFA, growers, and the university, Grafton-Cardwell said. “We need better ways to prevent psyllids from moving around the state because they might have HLB in their bodies, and we’ve got to prevent the spread of the disease.

beth_grafton-cardwell

Beth Grafton-Cardwell

The Florida citrus industry did not do a great job in containing the Psyllid, and now HLB is rampant in the state’s citrus industry, which has devastated the citrus economy there.

“Florida found that they did not do much to control psyllid movement, and they found that psyllids were moving in bulk citrus bins and retail nursery plants around the state, and within a concise amount of time, they spread the Psyllid and the disease everywhere,” Grafton-Cardwell said. “We’re trying to avoid that. We have 100% tarping of citrus truckloads. We have treatments that have to be done if growers want to move citrus between major zones in California, so that we can prevent that kind of movement.”

Conversations continue about quarantine areas in California to reduce spread.

“There’s been a lot of discussion regarding quarantines because it’s painful for some growers who have low Psyllid numbers to have to treat and to move their fruit to other zones.”

“There’s been a lot of questions. We did a lot of scientific analysis to look at impacts as well as numbers. It’s not just about psyllid numbers; it’s about their impact if growers were to move the disease into a high citrus growing region,” Grafton-Cardwell explained.

2021-05-12T11:01:48-07:00May 8th, 2019|

Casey Creamer Named New President/CEO of California Citrus Mutual

New Role Effective Feb. 1

News Release

 

CCM appoints current Executive Vice President and veteran agriculture industry representative.  Current President, Joel Nelsen to step down after 37 years at the helm and assume new role within the organization.

 

The California Citrus Mutual (CCM) Board of Directors has named current Executive Vice President Casey Creamer as its new President and CEO effective February 1st.  Creamer came to CCM last February after a national search process to eventually assume the role of President.  He succeeds Joel Nelsen, who has guided CCM for the last 37 years.

Huanglongbing

Joel Nelsen semi-retires after 37 years at the Helm.

“The citrus industry is very fortunate to have had an individual of Joel’s caliber the last 37 years.  That kind of loyalty is not only rare, it’s unheard of,” Board Chairman Curt Holmes said.  “Joel has taken a relatively small industry and has given us a huge voice.  We’ve faced many challenges over the years and have addressed them head on with his energy and passion leading the way.  We are incredibly grateful to him for his service and we appreciate his willingness to stay engaged in the industry.

“We are also very excited to have Casey on board as our new President and CEO,” continued Holmes.  “The Board conducted an extensive search process and interviewed viable candidates from across the country.  We ultimately found the right person in our own backyard.  His prior experience working for a sister commodity organization and his work representing growers on water issues made him an ideal selection.  Over the last year, his knowledge of the citrus industry has greatly expanded, and he has quickly become a valuable member of the CCM team on behalf of the industry.”

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve,” Creamer said.  “I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some of the best leaders over my career and have nothing but respect and admiration for the job that Joel has done advancing issues important to the citrus industry.  I’m looking forward to carrying on the many successful traditions at CCM, while constantly seeking new ideas and pathways to address the significant challenges we face.  With the enthusiasm and commitment that exists in this industry, I am confident that together, we tackle any obstacle thrown our way.”

 

2019-01-28T16:55:42-08:00January 28th, 2019|

Citrus Mutual Encouraged by Farm Bill

California Citrus Mutual Commends Congress for Action on 2018 Farm Bill

News Release

This week, the U.S. Senate and the House passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, with overwhelming bipartisan support. This legislation will direct agricultural policy and authorize funding for key agricultural programs in the federal government for the next 5 years.

President Trump has the opportunity to enact the 2018 Farm Bill before the end of the year.

CCM President Joel Nelsen offers the following statement:

“California Citrus Mutual applauds the Farm Bill conferees and House and Senate Ag Committees for moving forward a bill that includes priority programs for specialty crop producers. Jeff Denham, Jim Costa, and Jimmy Panetta were crucial voices for California farmers on the House Ag Committee. Along with Representatives Julia Brownley, Ken Calvert, and David Valadao, the California Members were instrumental to securing funding for research, trade and market enhancement, and pest and disease prevention that will directly benefit California specialty crop producers.

“With support from Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes and Senators Feinstein and Harris, key programs and funding for the U.S. citrus industry will continue in the next Farm Bill.

“The U.S. citrus industry will receive funding to continue priority research to identify a solution to Huanglongbing, a devastating plant disease that is threatening the sustainability of our domestic citrus industry. This is a significant win for U.S. citrus growers.

“On behalf of the California citrus industry, I thank the Congressmen and Congresswoman, our U.S. Senators, and our colleagues in the specialty crop industry who worked diligently over the past several months to create a bipartisan Farm Bill that provides crucial resources to ensure our farmers can continue providing nutritious produce to Americans and people around the world.”

The 2018 Farm Bill includes $25 million per year for 5 years starting in 2019 for research specific to the invasive insect Asian citrus psyllid and deadly plant disease Huanglongbing (HLB). This Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund will build upon the program created in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) title in the 2014 Farm Bill and complements the $40 million per year program funded by California citrus growers to stop the spread of HLB.

The legislation also includes funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program and the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). Additionally, funding will continue for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program, which helps growers overcome artificial trade barriers. TASC has been in operation for over fifteen years and was created to address sanitary and phytosanitary issues and technical barriers to trade that prohibit or threaten exports of U.S. specialty crops.

2021-05-12T11:00:39-07:00December 13th, 2018|
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