Florida Citrus Community Goes All In Against HLB

2013 Florida Citrus Industry Conference Education session

If there is indeed strength in numbers, then the Florida citrus industry should be in good position to take on the challenges that lay ahead, most notably HLB. During last week’s Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference in Bonita Springs, a record 700+ attendees turned out for the 9th running of the family friendly event hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM). According to Mike Sparks, FCM’s executive VP/CEO, this marks the third year in a row a new attendance benchmark has been set.

While the yearly gathering offers a selection of resort-flavored networking opportunities, the business-oriented educational session focused on planting and protecting citrus in the 21st Century. While the theme was stated as a “new paradigm” on the program sheet, girding against greening’s barrage seems hardly new anymore. The team efforts going on in research labs and in the groves are what’s making a difference in the new normal of citrus production.

Citrus health management areas (aka, CHMAs) are a prime example of working together for a singular cause – outright psyllid control. Brandon Page, UF/IFAS CHMA assistant, presented results of multiple CHMA programs around the state. “Even though there are differences [in each], there are important similarities,” he said.
According to Page, foundations of a highly functioning CHMA rely on leadership (grower involvement) as well as constant communication through scouting reports and cultural practices.

*Click here to check out the new CHMA Mapping Program*

In the high-performing CHMAs such as Bereah/South Frostproof and Volusia, grower participation is what is making an impact. For those areas needing improvement, Page said the answer is simple, “We need leaders.”

From the fields to the labs, work continues in the antimicrobial treatment front and on ultimately trying to come up with a HLB-resistant tree. Dr. Jude Grosser, UF/IFAS, informed attendees about promising leads on the horizon regarding new rootstocks, including one that compares apples and oranges. Grosser noted a breakthrough in using the right rootstock to help prevent fire blight in apples. “If it can happen in apples, then it can happen in citrus,” he said.

Studies are under way in analyzing the results of grafting infected scions onto rootstocks. Compiled data from the outcomes will lead to the next stage, Grosser said, which will be selecting rootstocks that have HLB resistance.
“Isn’t it great to see an enthusiastic scientist? His work reflects that,” exclaimed Dr. Harold Browning, chief operating officer of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, following Grosser’s presentation.

Those in the audience agreed with Browning’s observation. Similarly, Sparks said the positive attitude has to start internally in order for others outside the industry to notice. The recent funding victories are testament to that. “The growers’ cooperative spirit and can-do attitude is what our industry was founded on. Not only does Coca-Cola have the confidence to invest, but so does the public sector to support our industry.”

A Salute To Citrus Achievement

During the Citrus Industry Annual Banquet, Florida Grower presented its annual Citrus Achievement Award sponsored by Chemtura AgroSolutions. Based on his accomplishments in leading the research charge, this year’s selection – Bobby Barben – was a popular one. Not one to seek the spotlight, Barben told a full banquet hall of professional peers and family, “I’m humbled, honored, and embarrassed to win this award.”

See below for some of the on-site Twitter exchanges from the Citrus Achievement Award presentation.

Topics: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
water droplet_generic
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Reforms Needed
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Spring Valley Farms in Umatilla, FL, from a drone
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer To Fruition
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
The new Greefa unit at Stemilt is nearly the length of a football field. “It just keeps going and going,” says General Manager Jay Fulbright. (Photo courtesy of Stemilt)
Citrus
September 20, 2016
Preventative Control Rules Now In Effect For Large Businesses
Facilities employing 500 or more people must meet new standards. Read More
If Palmer amaranth is present in your field, do not remove the weed plants. Instead, destroy the weeds by burying or burning near the infested field.
Photo credit: Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State University
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause Cancer
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
illustration showing data taken and recorded on new citrus varieties
Varieties & Rootstocks
September 20, 2016
Is Citrus Ready To Break Out Of The Bubble?
Opportunity for enhanced data collection process at variety display days could give breeding and research teams a leg up in vetting sensible selections. Read More
cash money in hand
Business Planning
September 19, 2016
American Agricultural Exports Could Feel Sting From Strong Dollar
Despite headwinds, the U.S. remains the most stable economy in the world. Read More
NASA's global temperature heat map for 2015
Citrus
September 17, 2016
August Was The Hottest In 136 Years
The extended heat wave continues a streak of 11 consecutive months of record-setting temperatures. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
September 26, 2016
Presidential Candidates Comment On Agric…
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump weigh in on a number of topics of concern to growers. Read More
Citrus
September 26, 2016
Florida Sugarcane Industry Strengthening…
Pot sweetens with promotions for three executive staffers of the state’s Growers Cooperative. Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Senate Committee Report Says WOTUS Refor…
A report issued from the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee says federal agencies overreach their authority to regulate Read More
Citrus
September 22, 2016
Citrus Tax Incentive A Big Step Closer T…
U.S. House vote ends in landslide of support for emergency legislation, which allows growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new trees. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
Preventative Control Rules Now In Effect…
Facilities employing 500 or more people must meet new standards. Read More
Citrus
September 20, 2016
EPA Says Glyphosate Not Likely To Cause …
Paper says herbicide not carcinogenic at doses relevant for human health risk assessment. Read More
Business Planning
September 19, 2016
American Agricultural Exports Could Feel…
Despite headwinds, the U.S. remains the most stable economy in the world. Read More
Citrus
September 17, 2016
August Was The Hottest In 136 Years
The extended heat wave continues a streak of 11 consecutive months of record-setting temperatures. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
What The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Means Thu…
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create the world’s largest agriculture company. Read More
Citrus
September 15, 2016
Support Strong For Emergency Citrus Legi…
Proposed bill that would increase fruit production figures through tax code tweaks passes first test in U.S. House Ways and Means Committee approval. Read More
Citrus
September 14, 2016
Bayer Acquires Monsanto After Months Of …
Mega-Merger sealed with $66 billion all-cash transaction. Read More
Citrus
September 13, 2016
Can CRISPR Carry Agriculture Innovation …
Game-changing technology allows targeted gene modification to fight diseases like citrus greening. Read More
Citrus
September 12, 2016
Historic Farmworker Overtime Law Approve…
California legislation, the first of its kind in the nation, is reviled by grower groups who say it will actually do economic harm to farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
September 12, 2016
FDA Allocates $21.8M To Help States Comp…
Funding has been awarded to assist 42 states with implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Read More
Citrus
September 9, 2016
Are You Feeling Befuddled By Fickle Fore…
In any situation, proactivity pays. We can wait for the sky to fall, or we can sing in the rain. Read More
Citrus
September 8, 2016
Bayer Ups Monsanto Offer
German company increases offer by 2% for world’s largest seeds company. Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Getting To The Root Of Improved Fruit An…
Taking a holistic approach to soil health is a key to increasing plant vigor and yields. High yields begin with Read More
Citrus
September 7, 2016
Hermine Rains Down On Already-Soaked Sun…
Storm delivers extra dose of precipitation during one of the state’s wettest spells on record. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]