Citrus Referendum Coming Up

Citrus Growers to Vote on Referendum

News Release from Citrus Research Board

California citrus growers soon will receive a critical citrus referendum ballot from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) asking them to vote on continuing the work of the Citrus Research Board (CRB) for the next five years.

The grower-funded and grower-directed CRB was chartered nearly 50 years ago to enable California citrus growers to sponsor and support needed research that industry members otherwise would be unable to individually fund or access on their own. The Board’s mission is to ensure a sustainable California citrus industry for the benefit of growers by prioritizing, investing in and promoting sound science.

Some key areas funded include general production research, a variety improvement research program, a quality assurance program on agricultural chemical residues, and pest and disease control activities. Currently, disease control is crucially important.

The California citrus industry is now in the fight of its life to prevent the spread of the devastating disease huanglongbing (HLB) from California’s orchards.

HLB already has decimated most other major citrus growing regions, including Florida.

In California, HLB so far only has been found in 40 residential trees in Los Angeles; however, unless researchers are able to find a solution, HLB could gain a foothold in the state’s commercial groves. Currently, the CRB is dedicating its primary research efforts to controlling the spread of HLB and eradicating the disease. The Board is beginning to see some promising results; but without the CRB, much valuable research will go unfunded.

“We urge all citrus growers to vote when they receive their ballots from the CDFA,” CRB President Gary Schulz said. “Citrus is important to our state’s economy, employment, health and positive identity. We are proud to proactively protect and sustain the world’s largest fresh citrus market. The work that our researchers are conducting is vital to sustaining the California citrus industry and ensuring its continued success.”

The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the State’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.

Ventura County ACP Report Less Than Uplifting

Joanne O’Sullivan, a licensed PCA and QAL (Qualified Applicator), and a Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Grower Liaison in Ventura County, reported TODAY that four new urban settings with 25 or more citrus trees on the property have been discovered in Asian citrus psyllid treatment areas in recent weeks. These four finds are within the same area as the commercial Camarillo find in March.

CDFA deems these orchards also as commercial; therefore, the homeowners are financially responsible for the treatment.

O’Sullivan said, “The first two homeowners I contacted were more than willing to cooperate and take on the financial costs of spraying. They understand it is necessary for the benefit of both their trees and the health of Ventura County’s citrus industry. The third homeowner opted to remove 15 of his trees and CDFA then sprayed the remaining ten. The last and remaining homeowner will take a bit more convincing, but I am confident they will come to see the great benefits of working with us.”

“On a less uplifting note,” O’Sullivan continued, “it has been an unlucky month for Fillmore and Piru producers. Piru has been hit again in the Bardsdale area with two ACP confirmations in the same week. These same growers had completed the ACP psyllid spray protocol in November of last year. It goes without saying that the producers are less than delighted to be repeating treatment again so soon.”

She reiterated a very important element in the ACP/HLB program,
”The goal of the [Ventura County ACP-HLB] Task Force has been to delay as long as possible the introduction of HLB into Ventura County. As a result of the progressive and aggressive work from producers, packers, pest advisors, operators and the CDFA and county trapping programs, Ventura remains one of the most successful ACP/HLB programs in the state.

A critical element of ACP treatment protocol for organic growers is the importance of scouting post-treatment. All blocks must be aggressively monitored following applications, using the sampling protocol that is included in the ACP CONFIRMATION IN YOUR AREA packet.

Current protocol requires organic producers to sample every two weeks after the third treatment. Sampling every two weeks allows the grower to document control. Early detection and swift eradication is our best defensive against the introduction of HLB and its devastating effects on Ventura citrus producers.

Every producer – commercial and organic – should be familiar with the signs of Asian citrus psyllid. Literature on identifying ACP is available at the CRB, UCIPM, UC Cooperative Extension as well as from CDFA. Share it with your workers. If you have any doubts about your ability to identify adults, nymphs, and eggs, please contact me, I am always glad to meet with you on your ranch and help you scout.

In closing, I was forwarded an interesting short news article outlining the economic hit Florida has taken as the result of HLB, with annual production dropping from 1,000,000 boxes of fruit to 750,000. This news story is a not- so-gentle reminder of why it is vitally important that everyone working together in a cooperative spirit can keep Florida’s scenario from happening in California.

Take a look:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/us-orange-production-hit-disease-041911170.html#rOCRoWr

And let’s all keep up the diligent efforts that help keep Ventura’s citrus industry strong.

 

CPDPP

The California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program is a grower-funded program administered by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee, which was established to advise the California Secretary of Agriculture and the agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious pests and diseases that could threaten our state’s citrus industry.

Key responsibilities are:

  • Develop informational programs to educate and train residential owners of citrus fruit, local communities, groups and individuals on the prevention/detection of pests, diseases and their vectors specific to citrus.
  • Develop programs for surveying, detecting, analyzing, and treating citrus pests and diseases.
  • Set box assessment to help pay for citrus pest and disease detection, treatment and educational outreach programs.

Photo Credit: UC ANR News Blog