Knowledge, Patience, Money Needed To Nurture Citrus Research

Bobby Barben and family tradition

Editor’s Note: This Q&A feature is the third in series of six with the 2013 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Bobby Barben. The Avon Park-based grower also serves as the chairman of the Research Management Committee of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF).

If a grower is interested in getting more involved with the research funding process, what should he/she do?

Barben: Please come to CRDF meetings and committee meetings. Growers are always welcome. If growers come to the research meetings when projects are being evaluated, I think it would help them understand why projects get chosen for funding.
All projects are evaluated on science and practical application. If someone wants to get involved, read what’s been done already and what’s now being done. I think it will help you understand what needs to be done in the future. I don’t think you can evaluate the worth of a project in a vacuum. You need to evaluate the total list of projects and which ones will have the best chance of success. Time and money are the essence of what the CRDF is looking for in projects that, if successful, can be replicated and have an influence on a broad number of acres. The better informed growers are of what we are doing, the better they will be to help us find the most worthy projects.

Why does it seem to take so long for scientific research to find solutions?

Barben: I know results from research are not as fast as we all need. Nobody is more impatient than I am. We must remember the first three-year projects were just completed in spring 2012. We evaluated these projects in the fall 2008 and funded them in spring 2009.
Every fall, we have requests for proposals. The scientists give us their ideas. If we like them, we ask for full proposals. These proposals are evaluated by our CRDF scientific advisory board and by the Research Management Committee. If a proposal is accepted, it is presented to the full board in the winter for funding. Then the projects get started in the late spring or summer.
I know this is all sounds agonizingly slow, but researchers have to have labs, greenhouses, plant materials, and people in place before work can get started. And to make matters slower, some of these projects are just building blocks for the next step. The CRDF’s Dr. Tom Turpin and Dr. Harold Browning keep the research on schedule. The researchers send in a report each quarter and the project is re-evaluated each year.
If we get something that shows promise, we work to get it commercialized. That’s where Ben McLean and his CRDF project delivery committee come in. They work with chemical companies, EPA, and the Florida Department of Agriculture to get products in the field as soon as possible.
Just an example of how the EPA can slow down research: Dr. Bill Dawson had to wait almost two years before he was allowed to test an antimicrobial peptide in the field because it was on a citrus tristeza virus carrier and they were afraid an aphid might spread the peptide. This isn’t to suggest that all of EPA’s precautions aren’t warranted. It’s just that getting a solution to the grower two years earlier might save a lot of citrus trees.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
CitrusNominations Open For Next Class Of Florida Citrus Hall Of Famers
August 31, 2015
Inductees to be honored during the 54th annual Citrus Celebration Luncheon. Read More
CitrusWhole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance To Be Available In 2016
August 31, 2015
USDA offers greater flexibility for beginning, organic and fruit and vegetable growers. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
CitrusClear Up Misconceptions About Water Use In Ag
August 31, 2015
Those in the industry need to to clear up misconceptions about water use in agriculture. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateProducts To Help Your Trees Fight Off Citrus Greening
August 31, 2015
Tree decline is one of the major components of citrus greening disease or huanglongbing (HLB). Vectored by the Asian citrus Read More
CitrusGMOs Might Be The Solution To Invasive Diseases [Opinion]
August 30, 2015
Huanglongbing is ravaging Florida’s iconic oranges and California's are at risk; we should not just stand by and watch the U.S. citrus industry dry up. Read More
CitrusMany HLB Finds In California
August 30, 2015
Scientists always said it was just a matter of time, but having an incurable disease like Huanglongbing infect the state’s citrus is jarring. Read More
The Latest
CitrusResearchers Use Wasps To Protect Citrus Trees From Gree…
September 2, 2015
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times highlights some of the new research being conducted in the fight against Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Ho…
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
CitrusNominations Open For Next Class Of Florida Citrus Hall …
August 31, 2015
Inductees to be honored during the 54th annual Citrus Celebration Luncheon. Read More
CitrusWhole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance To Be Available…
August 31, 2015
USDA offers greater flexibility for beginning, organic and fruit and vegetable growers. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
CitrusClear Up Misconceptions About Water Use In Ag
August 31, 2015
Those in the industry need to to clear up misconceptions about water use in agriculture. Read More
CitrusGMOs Might Be The Solution To Invasive Diseases [Opinio…
August 30, 2015
Huanglongbing is ravaging Florida’s iconic oranges and California's are at risk; we should not just stand by and watch the U.S. citrus industry dry up. Read More
CitrusMany HLB Finds In California
August 30, 2015
Scientists always said it was just a matter of time, but having an incurable disease like Huanglongbing infect the state’s citrus is jarring. Read More
CitrusFederal Judge Blocks Clean Water Rule
August 28, 2015
  According to RISE (Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment), a federal judge in North Dakota has blocked implementation of Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech E…
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg
CitrusCounting Down The Top U.S. Colleges For Natural Resourc…
August 25, 2015
STEM-fueled area of study presents wide field of opportunity for future grads. Read More
Charlotte's Web-medical marijuana in greenhouse
CitrusMedical Marijuana Endeavor Anything But Pipe Dream For …
August 20, 2015
While applicants await fate for one of the five available licenses to weave ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ best-case-scenarios play out. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Farmers Feted For Water Quality Standards
August 20, 2015
Marking 20 straight years of success, producers help Everglades Agricultural Area exceed phosphorus reduction goals. Read More
old world bollworm climbing on vegetation
CitrusOld World Bollworm A Potential New Pain For Florida Far…
August 20, 2015
Growers in the Sunshine State on high alert as serious pest is detected for the first time in the U.S. outside of port interceptions. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Pour $20 Million Into Frozen Orange Juice
August 20, 2015
Section 32 bonus purchase program money to help move mountain of surplus inventory. Read More
CitrusMaps Show Impending Impact From WOTUS
August 19, 2015
Plots indicate expansion of EPA’s reach across Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Montana. Read More
branches covered in ice
CitrusWicked Winter Coming This Way Says Latest Farmer’s Alma…
August 17, 2015
Super El Niño-influenced weather patterns align to paint a less-than-pretty portrait. Read More