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
Growers participate in a real-time industry survey session at the 2016 Florida Citrus Show
Citrus
December 6, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Tasked To Unify For Stronger Future
A group effort is necessary to forge ahead. Read More
sprayer applying bactericides to citrus trees
Insect & Disease Update
December 5, 2016
Best Practices For Bactericides Key To Vetting Citrus Solution
Approval finally cleared for antimicrobial applications, and now growers wait and hope to see positive results. Read More
Low-volume overhead irrigation system at Jones Potato Farm
Citrus
December 5, 2016
South Florida Endures Driest November On Record
Region has not experienced any significant rainfall since Hurricane Matthew. Read More
Grower Jonathan Brown of Bethel Farms inspects his citrus grove.
Citrus
December 2, 2016
Citrus Survey Shows Florida Growers Are Bully For Bactericides
Growers are betting unique crop protection tools will bridge the gap to bigger HLB solutions. Read More
Photo credit: USDA
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Bio Huma Netics App Now Released For Android Smart Phones
App includes foliar application calculators and ability to save application data. Read More
CBS This Morning citrus story interview
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Telling The Story Of Florida Citrus More Important Now Than Ever
HLB forces an emphasis on grassroots efforts to paint a positive picture. Read More
Citrus Postbloom Fruit Drop field day hosted by BASF in Florida
Insect & Disease Update
November 30, 2016
Florida’s Top Citrus Growers Sound Off On Critical Matters
Fighting pyllids, better weather, and new varieties will hopefully bring improved yields. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
December 9, 2016
Latest Florida Citrus Crop Forecast Runs…
Despite crop protection challenges, all-orange production projection from USDA remains unchanged. Read More
Citrus
December 8, 2016
A Look Inside Florida’s Newest Cannabis …
Given the official go-ahead to dispense alternative medicine, Knox Medical unveils its state-of-the-art lab. Read More
Citrus
December 6, 2016
Report: Florida Cannabis Business To App…
Lofty projections include a compound annual growth rate of 140%. Read More
Citrus
December 6, 2016
Florida Citrus Community Tasked To Unify…
A group effort is necessary to forge ahead. Read More
Citrus
December 5, 2016
South Florida Endures Driest November On…
Region has not experienced any significant rainfall since Hurricane Matthew. Read More
Citrus
December 2, 2016
Citrus Survey Shows Florida Growers Are …
Growers are betting unique crop protection tools will bridge the gap to bigger HLB solutions. Read More
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Bio Huma Netics App Now Released For And…
App includes foliar application calculators and ability to save application data. Read More
Citrus
December 1, 2016
Telling The Story Of Florida Citrus More…
HLB forces an emphasis on grassroots efforts to paint a positive picture. Read More
Citrus
November 29, 2016
Saving California Citrus Means Thinking …
Saving the California citrus industry from the incurable disease Huanglongbing will take a creative multi-pronged effort. Read More
Citrus
November 29, 2016
Review Shows Low Risk To Aquatic Inverte…
Peer-reviewed evaluation of more than 100 studies finds uses of imidacloprid are unlikely to harm aquatic invertebrate communities, or the birds and fish that rely on them. Read More
Citrus
November 23, 2016
Strength Of Sugar Fuels South Florida Ec…
The Sunshine State's sugar industry employs more than 14,000 people and has an annual income of more than $800 million with a total direct and indirect economic impact of greater than $3 billion. Read More
Citrus
November 22, 2016
Arysta Partners With Beem Biologics To L…
Agreement to expand Arysta’s portfolio with new biocontrol releases. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
Bacterial Imbalances Can Be Troublesome …
A recent study reports that bees given fresh pollen or fresh supplements fared better than bees given pollen or supplements that had first been aged for 21 days. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
7 Sweet Releases In Florida Sugarcane
New cultivars focus on disease resistance and yield. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
EPA Extends Comment Period For Malathion
Growers have the opportunity to comment on a draft of human health risk assessment. Read More
Citrus
November 21, 2016
Insight Welcome On Florida Agriculture&#…
Poorly thought-out government policies loom as a major threat that prevents Florida farmers and ranchers from feeding a hungry world. Read More
Citrus
November 20, 2016
Partnership Highlights Key Role Bees Pla…
Campaign focuses on role honeybees and beekeepers have pollinating the foods Americans eat. Read More
Citrus
November 19, 2016
USDA Gives $200 Million To Expand Ag Exp…
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is awarding $200 million to more than 70 Read More