For Florida Congressman Tom Rooney, citrus is a way of life for the district he represents. That’s why he continues to advocate for the industry and serves as co-chair of the Congressional Citrus Caucus.
Though there has not been much to cheer about lately for citrus growers, Rooney announced he has secured just more than $61 million in funding to combat citrus greening disease in the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations bill that is scheduled to be voted on in the House of Representatives this week. [Updated May 5, 2017: The bill did successfully pass legislation]
Rooney is one of three members of Florida’s Congressional delegation to sit on the House Appropriations Committee and is the only member from the Sunshine State serving on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
The 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes $7.5 million to sustain the HLB Multiagency Coordination Group’s (HLB-MAC) recent research gains in early detection, greening management strategies, and therapies to treat infected trees; plus $53.8 million for USDA’s Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP). CHRP is a nationwide effort to protect the U.S. citrus industry from invasive pests and diseases, like HLB, and funds for this program allow the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to partner with states and local entities to develop a cure for citrus greening disease.
“This $61 million investment is urgently-needed to sustain progress on research and development of a cure for citrus greening and to prevent the American citrus industry from becoming extinct,” Rooney stated.