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
Expansion groundbreaking for Southwest Florida Research and Education Center
CitrusSouthwest Florida Research And Education Center Embracing New Expansion
May 20, 2015
A 7,000-square-foot addition to the UF/IFAS facility will house labs and offices for potential new faculty members. Read More
storm clouds
CitrusSouth Florida Rainy Season Could Wind Up On Drier Side
May 20, 2015
National Weather Service anticipating El Niño to play a hand in possible below-normal conditions. Read More
CitrusBad Weather Or Not, Preparation Always On Radar For Florida Farmers [Opinion]
May 19, 2015
You cannot prevent a natural disaster from taking everything you have, but you can lessen the blow if and when it happens. Read More
CitrusSave Your Greenhouse Structures From Storms
May 19, 2015
Make sure your protected agriculture components are prepared for whatever may blow this way. Read More
BB Hobbs Inc. warehouse in Plant City, FL
CitrusBB Hobbs Bolsters Business In Central Florida
May 18, 2015
Irrigation specialists celebrate opening of new branch warehouse in Plant City. Read More
CitrusHouse Votes To Stop “Flawed” Waters Of The United States Rule
May 15, 2015
The U.S. House of Representatives approved this week bipartisan legislation that requires the withdrawal of the Waters of the United Read More
CitrusPointers On How To Save Money, Increase Sprayer Efficiency
May 15, 2015
Using clean water when calibrating a pesticide sprayer and carrying extra nozzles for quick repair of simple problems in the Read More
The Latest
CitrusSenate OKs Trade Priorities And Accountability Act
May 26, 2015
Late on the evening of Friday, May 22, the U.S. Senate approved the Trade Priorities And Accountability Act (TPA) of Read More
Operation Outdoor Freedom participants
CitrusFlorida Proud To Be Home Of The Brave [Opinion]
May 25, 2015
Operation Outdoor Freedom invites wounded service members and veterans of the U.S. military to enjoy recreational activities in state forests and on private lands. Read More
Expansion groundbreaking for Southwest Florida Research and Education Center
CitrusSouthwest Florida Research And Education Center Embraci…
May 20, 2015
A 7,000-square-foot addition to the UF/IFAS facility will house labs and offices for potential new faculty members. Read More
storm clouds
CitrusSouth Florida Rainy Season Could Wind Up On Drier Side
May 20, 2015
National Weather Service anticipating El Niño to play a hand in possible below-normal conditions. Read More
CitrusBad Weather Or Not, Preparation Always On Radar For Flo…
May 19, 2015
You cannot prevent a natural disaster from taking everything you have, but you can lessen the blow if and when it happens. Read More
CitrusSave Your Greenhouse Structures From Storms
May 19, 2015
Make sure your protected agriculture components are prepared for whatever may blow this way. Read More
BB Hobbs Inc. warehouse in Plant City, FL
CitrusBB Hobbs Bolsters Business In Central Florida
May 18, 2015
Irrigation specialists celebrate opening of new branch warehouse in Plant City. Read More
CitrusHouse Votes To Stop “Flawed” Waters Of The United State…
May 15, 2015
The U.S. House of Representatives approved this week bipartisan legislation that requires the withdrawal of the Waters of the United Read More
CitrusPointers On How To Save Money, Increase Sprayer Efficie…
May 15, 2015
Using clean water when calibrating a pesticide sprayer and carrying extra nozzles for quick repair of simple problems in the Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’…
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusUSDA Announces $11.9M In Assistance For Organic Certifi…
May 14, 2015
Following on the heels of the USDA’s announcement of record growth in the organic sector, the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service Read More
CitrusBeekeepers Lost 40% Of Bees In 2014-15
May 14, 2015
Beekeepers across the U.S. lost more than 40% of their honey bee colonies from April 2014 to April 2015, according to the latest results of Read More
CitrusReport: Florida Agriculture Property Values Remain Firm
May 12, 2015
Lay of the land confirms farm tracts are good investment. Read More
CitrusFlorida Orange Crop Now Projected To Be Lowest In Nearl…
May 12, 2015
Not since the 1965-1966 season have production numbers looked so bleak. Read More
CitrusImportant Crop Insurance Deadline Nearing For Growers
May 12, 2015
Specialty crop, other producers need to certify conservation compliance by June 1. Read More
CitrusAbout 58,000 Jobs In Agriculture And Related Fields Are…
May 12, 2015
National report says the jobs reflect a need for a skilled and trained workforce to support a growing population. Read More
CitrusEPA Approves Experimental Use Permit Of Spinach Trait T…
May 8, 2015
Agency allows potential breakthrough to move forward for further testing. Read More
CitrusSyngenta Rejects Monsanto’s Buyout Bid
May 8, 2015
Company says $45 billion offer undervalues future prospects. Read More