Fighting for Citrus Industry

Continuing to Fight For Citrus Industry’s Longevity Requires Teamwork

By Jim Gorden, Committee Chair, Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention

For more than two centuries, citrus has grown strong in California’s yards and groves—serving as a source of nourishment, income, and tradition for many different individuals—but the citrus industry is at risk due to Huanglongbing’s (HLB) growing presence in California.

Jim Gorden

In 2018, HLB was found in more than 600 residential citrus trees in Southern California, and despite the program’s thorough surveying efforts, HLB has not been found in a commercial grove, but we must continue to hold strong. It has never been more important for all of us— including the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP), regulatory authorities, the citrus industry, the scientific community, and others—to work together to prevent the spread of the disease and save California’s citrus industry.

While much has changed since the citrus industry came together ten years ago to support the creation of the CPDPP, one constant remains: the program’s dedication to fighting HLB. This year, the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee (CPDPC) created a strategic plan for combatting HLB now and in the future. The plan identified five prioritized strategies to achieve CPDPP’s goals of keeping HLB out of commercial groves, limiting Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) movement in the state and fine-tuning the program. In addition, the program agreed to align its annual budget in support of the strategies, which can be viewed in this report.

With this plan comes additional responsibilities for all individuals involved. The CPDPC understands HLB isn’t the only issue posing a threat to your business and our industry – but it’s one we can’t ignore. This report highlights the many activities the program and our partners are doing across the state to protect commercial groves from HLB, but we are only as strong as our weakest link.

Looking forward, much is at stake for California citrus growers, packers and workers as the industry faces its biggest threat yet in HLB. I encourage you to connect with the program, your local pest control district, or task force, and follow best practices for managing the ACP and HLB. If we sit idle, hoping others will take action for our benefit, we are welcoming this devastating disease into our groves.

But, by working together, we can protect California’s commercial citrus industry from devastation—sustaining our livelihood and the legacy of California citrus.

For more information on the  Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Click here.

Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Covers Tulare County Completely

UPDATE: The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) Quarantine covers Tulare County, in its entirety, following the detection of two psyllids in the City of Tulare. The first ACP was detected in a trap in a residential neighborhood on September 10, in the City of Tulare.  The second detection was on September 17, also in a residential setting within the City of Tulare.  These detections, when added to previous detections elsewhere in the county, dictate that a county-wide quarantine is the most effective response to contain the pest.  A map is available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/go/acp-quarantine 

The quarantine prohibits the movement of host nursery stock out of the quarantine area and requires that all citrus fruit be either cleaned of leaves and stems or treated in a manner to eliminate ACP prior to moving out of the quarantine area.  Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked to not remove fruit from the quarantine area.

In addition to quarantines in portions of Fresno, Kern, and San Luis Obispo counties, ACP entire-county quarantines remain in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening.  All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease.  There is no cure once a tree becomes infected.  The diseased tree will decline in health until it dies.

HLB has been detected just once in California – in 2012 on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County.  HLB is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S.  Florida first detected the psyllid in 1998 and the disease in 2005, and the two have been detected in all 30 citrus-producing counties in that state.  The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity.  The disease is present in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas.  The states of Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, and Mississippi have detected the pest but not the disease.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen the Asian citrus psyllid are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.  For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp

Featured Photos, Source: M.E. Rogers, M. Luque-Williams, on CDFA website, “ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID PEST PROFILE

 

Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee Vacancy

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is announcing one vacancy on the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee. The Committee advises the CDFA secretary on activities associated with the statewide citrus specific pest and disease work plan that includes, but is not limited to outreach and education programs and programs for surveying, detecting, analyzing, and treating pests and diseases specific to citrus.

The members receive no compensation, but are entitled to payment of necessary travel expenses in accordance with the rules of the Department of Personnel Administration.

A committee member vacancy exists for a grower representative from Tulare County and will expire on September 30, 2017. Applicants should have an interest in agriculture and citrus pest and disease prevention. Individuals interested in being considered for a committee appointment should send a brief resume by November 1, 2014 to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, 1220 N Street, Room 221, Sacramento, California 95814, Attention: Victoria Hornbaker.

For additional information, contact: Victoria Hornbaker, Program Manager at (916) 654-0317, or e-mail (Victoria.hornbaker@cdfa.ca.gov).