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
Sunset on Florida potato field day
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Researchers On a Mission to Find More Places for Growing Produce
Federal grant to aid exploration of food security solutions for the future. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Farm Labor Stories Making the News This Week
The agricultural labor shortage is strong enough that the consumer press is beginning to report on it regularly. Here are the stories making headlines this month. Read More
farm hacks collage
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Florida Grower Magazine is Seeking Your Farm Hacks
Life hacks are common in social media threads these days. They are those clever ideas or tricks aimed at making Read More
Rain drops on leaf
Citrus
July 14, 2017
Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers Winning at Water Quality
Annual report shows use of best management practices results in another massive reduction in phosphorus flow. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
The Road is Long to Farm Bill 2018 [Opinion]
Participation in this process will be crucial to ensure your needs are understood and addressed. Read More
2015 FFVA Annual Convention crowd
Citrus
July 13, 2017
Trade Talk to Top Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association Convention Agenda
Trade issues are top of mind these days for specialty crop producers. Efforts have been underway since early this year Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Shaky Florida Citrus Season Skids to a Stop
Final USDA tally confirms continuing downward trend of production in the HLB era. Read More
Smaller John Deere tractor for use in citrus screenhouse
Citrus Achievement Award
July 12, 2017
Encourage New Citrus Growth by Getting Back to Basics
2017 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines says producing crops under protective screen is a way to farm more and stress less. Read More
Beet-armyworms-on-a-tomato-plant
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Tomato Pests Can Be Induced to Cannibalism, New Study Shows
The University of Wisconsin's John Orrock says when beet armyworms are exposed to concentrations of methyl jasmonate, they will abandon eating tomatoes — and start eating one another. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
USDA Pulls 8 Products from Approved Organic Production List
After a few months of speculation, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has published its Sunset 2017 final rule on approved products for organic production and handling. Read More
Drone-aided photo of Ed Pines' CUPS
Varieties & Rootstocks
July 11, 2017
Florida Citrus Growers Going Inside to Think Outside the Box
Producing fruit under protective screen is developing into a viable option for sustaining the Sunshine State’s signature crop. Read More
Carl and Dustin Grooms of Fancy Farms
Business Planning
July 11, 2017
Young Florida Farmers Ready to Take the Reins
As growers age, the next generation is stepping up and stepping into leadership roles on the farm. Read More
Dr. Martha Roberts
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Florida Reveals Its Latest Woman of the Year in Agriculture
2017 award recipient a true trailblazer and champion for the advancement of the state’s farming industry. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
July 10, 2017
Value of Bactericides Under Florida Citrus Sector’s Microscope
Preliminary results of the unique HLB management method indicate many factors left to consider. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precision Agriculture Closer to Earth
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
July 22, 2017
Representative from Washington Proposes …
Move broadens use of H-2A to all of agriculture to include those with multiple crops and harvests. Read More
Citrus
July 20, 2017
Atlantic Hurricane Forecast Taken Up a N…
Current conditions in the tropics warrant marked revision in potential storm season scenarios. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Researchers On a Mission to Find More Pl…
Federal grant to aid exploration of food security solutions for the future. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Farm Labor Stories Making the News This …
The agricultural labor shortage is strong enough that the consumer press is beginning to report on it regularly. Here are the stories making headlines this month. Read More
Citrus
July 19, 2017
Florida Grower Magazine is Seeking Your …
Life hacks are common in social media threads these days. They are those clever ideas or tricks aimed at making Read More
Citrus
July 14, 2017
Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers Win…
Annual report shows use of best management practices results in another massive reduction in phosphorus flow. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
The Road is Long to Farm Bill 2018 [Opin…
Participation in this process will be crucial to ensure your needs are understood and addressed. Read More
Citrus
July 13, 2017
Trade Talk to Top Florida Fruit & Ve…
Trade issues are top of mind these days for specialty crop producers. Efforts have been underway since early this year Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Shaky Florida Citrus Season Skids to a S…
Final USDA tally confirms continuing downward trend of production in the HLB era. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Tomato Pests Can Be Induced to Cannibali…
The University of Wisconsin's John Orrock says when beet armyworms are exposed to concentrations of methyl jasmonate, they will abandon eating tomatoes — and start eating one another. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
USDA Pulls 8 Products from Approved Orga…
After a few months of speculation, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has published its Sunset 2017 final rule on approved products for organic production and handling. Read More
Business Planning
July 11, 2017
Young Florida Farmers Ready to Take the …
As growers age, the next generation is stepping up and stepping into leadership roles on the farm. Read More
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Florida Reveals Its Latest Woman of the …
2017 award recipient a true trailblazer and champion for the advancement of the state’s farming industry. Read More
Citrus
July 10, 2017
Practical Solutions Are Bringing Precisi…
Growing the budding ag-tech sector to maturity likely will require a deeper meeting of the minds between technologists and agriculturists. Read More
Business Planning
July 10, 2017
Farming for Online Sales Will Require Gr…
Modern agriculture might not be for everyone, but it’s here to stay. Embrace it. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Florida Struggling to Stay Afloat in Wak…
In one month’s time, parts of the Sunshine State have gone from water shortage warnings to a high-water emergencies. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Give Tech Companies the Expertise They L…
One problem with many agricultural technology start up companies is that no one on staff has a farming background. That's easy enough to fix. Volunteer your expertise. Read More
Citrus
July 5, 2017
Want Labor-Saving Harvest Equipment? Col…
Innovation and technology start with growers working with their peers and manufacturers. Read More