Strength In Numbers Found At 2014 Florida Citrus Show

Attendees and exhibitors mingle during the 2014 Florida Citrus Show. Photo by Frank Giles

As crises surround the state’s signature crop, growers, packers, and other industry stakeholders seeking solutions showed up in bunches at this year’s Florida Citrus Show held Jan. 29-30 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Ft. Pierce. The two-day conference and trade show presented by Florida Grower, UF/IFAS, and the Indian River Citrus League welcomed an all-time event record of nearly 800 attendees. “We all are so busy with our own companies, it’s great to go to a well-organized and attended event to network with others and hear the latest news on greening and other industry issues,” said Jerry Newlin, vice president of operations for Orange-Co. “The Show reinforced that our industry is as united as ever in the battle against greening and that we continue to turn over every stone in an attempt to find survival strategies.”

With multiple negative crop forecasts already in the books, and frustration mounting over HLB, the tone has been set for what’s shaping up to be another less-than-idyllic season. Given that, it appears producers especially and researchers alike are fed up with waiting. During his welcome address to attendees, Indian River grower and packer T.P. Kennedy issued a call for action in the fight against HLB. “To go further, we need to challenge our Citrus Research and Development Foundation members on the use of antimicrobials. We need these,” he said. In addition, Kennedy expressed urgency over the industry’s dwindling supply. “We need to put into everyone’s minds about a tree re-plant program.” Referencing the $125 million earmarked for HLB research in the new Farm Bill, Kennedy thinks the time is right to plant that seed.

How would you rate this year's Florida Citrus Show?

  • Excellent (60%, 12 Votes)
  • Good (20%, 4 Votes)
  • Poor (10%, 2 Votes)
  • Did not attend (10%, 2 Votes)
  • Average (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

Loading ... Loading ...

Matt Salois, economist with the Florida Department of Citrus, agrees. “We’re selling everything we have, and at higher prices,” he said, which makes the Florida citrus industry unique in its economic conundrum. “This isn’t a demand problem, it’s a supply problem.”

The daunting challenge HLB has presented, along with the plodding progress in finding a cure, make it difficult to justify putting in new acreage. However, the educational sessions, featuring the latest research from UF/IFAS and USDA scientists, did provide some glimmers of hope. Amid several talks geared toward promising sour orange and sour-like rootstocks, Dr. Jude Grosser, UF/IFAS, said, “My goal before I retire is to give you a disease-resistant rootstock.” This statement spurred one audience member to ask: “So, when are you retiring?”


Attendees in the session room seemed to perk up during presentation given by Charles Powell, UF/IFAS, about the antimicrobial treatment of HLB. “There are quite a few molecules that will kill Liberibacter in the greenhouse,” he said. “Future testing [still about one year away] will focus on field application.”

According to Powell, next steps in antimicrobial research include creating more effective delivery systems, developing a time-release formula, and trying to find more molecules.

Some possible HLB solutions might not be that far in the offing. Dr. Wayne Hunter from the USDA lab in Ft. Pierce gave an update on RNAi treatments to disrupt Asian citrus psyllids using a non-transgenic approach. According to Hunter, Monsanto has secured a license to release a plant with the RNAi construct. This, he said, would be helpful in paving the way to commercialize a product to use in the field. “Hopefully, within the next six months, we will have a very strong package for EPA.”

Spike Schultheis, economist with the Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College, said in talking to growers, he finds different degrees of optimism and pessimism. “I don’t think anyone is optimistic about what HLB is doing to us economically,” he said. “We have a lot of great science out there, but what growers really want to know is when (a cure is coming).”

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Strength In Numbers Found At 2014 Florida Citrus Show

  1. Half the people there worked for vendors trying to sell chemical , and or equipment. Some growers were there search ing. For answears . They unfortunately believe whatever there told .
    One sad scientists was suggest ing. Building tents to kill psyillids . This poor man is out of his mind . But I’m sure he spent our money honestly. Everyone continues chasing psyillids .and the worse thing I found was. Monsanto has a new plant that you can grow as long as you buy there chemicals. Replace natural bacteria in the soil ,detoxify the soil and go natural .biological care of groves . I want to enjoy citrus juice. Not Monsanto chemical soup . Good luck growers
    You should all rethink who is running your industry . P.s. spain has no hlb either
    Anti microbial peptides should kill your hlb. Greening causing bacteria . Then replenish with friendly bacteria etc. .

Citrus Stories
Sunkist organic lemons being harvested at the Donlon Ranch in Ventura County, CA by Jane and Ned Donlon, 5th and 6th generation growers, respectively.
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Sunkist Expands Organic Portfolio
With the organic citrus sector growing three times as fast as conventional, the 123-year-old cooperative is keeping up with the times. Read More
money
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Syngenta OKs Buyout By ChemChina
Deal valued at more than $43 billion; Syngenta management team to stay intact. Read More
Flooded vegetable field in South Florida
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Historic Rainfall Hampering South Florida Farms
El Niño express delivering floods, uncertainty for crops. Read More
Rainy welcome at 2016 Florida Citrus Show
Citrus
February 1, 2016
Growers, Industry Leaders Weather The Storm At 2016 Florida Citrus Show
Not even an El Niño-fueled, two-day soaker can keep a flood of attendees from the annual gathering. Read More
A female Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis shown here is one wasp that specifically targets the Asian citrus psyllid. (Photo credit: Mike Lewis, CISR, UC-Riverside.)
Insect & Disease Update
January 29, 2016
Biology Meets Asian Citrus Psyllid Control
A team of researchers is studying two targeted parasitoid wasps to help prevent the spread of Asian citrus psyllid in the state. Read More
Asian citrus psyllid
Insect & Disease Update
January 25, 2016
Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Area In California Expanded Again
A zone of nearly 100 square miles has been declared in Fresno County following new detection. Read More
Guy in suit under the water
Citrus
January 23, 2016
Too Much Cheerleading Has EPA In Deep Water [Opinion]
These days, far too often, elected representatives of the people are abdicating their responsibilities to federal agencies. The result is rules like WOTUS. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
February 9, 2016
Revised Forecast Yields Small Victory Fo…
Updated USDA estimate holds serve again; hasn’t dipped since December. Read More
Citrus
February 4, 2016
Can Olive Oil Grease Skids For Florida’s…
Researchers, interested growers help launch new industry. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Sunkist Expands Organic Portfolio
With the organic citrus sector growing three times as fast as conventional, the 123-year-old cooperative is keeping up with the times. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Syngenta OKs Buyout By ChemChina
Deal valued at more than $43 billion; Syngenta management team to stay intact. Read More
Citrus
February 3, 2016
Historic Rainfall Hampering South Florid…
El Niño express delivering floods, uncertainty for crops. Read More
Citrus
February 1, 2016
Growers, Industry Leaders Weather The St…
Not even an El Niño-fueled, two-day soaker can keep a flood of attendees from the annual gathering. Read More
Citrus
January 23, 2016
Too Much Cheerleading Has EPA In Deep Wa…
These days, far too often, elected representatives of the people are abdicating their responsibilities to federal agencies. The result is rules like WOTUS. Read More
Citrus
January 22, 2016
It’s Official: 2015 Was Earth’s Wa…
NASA, NOAA analyses reveal record-shattering statistics regarding global temperatures this past year. Read More
Citrus
January 21, 2016
Chance Of Profits Up For Growers Tuned I…
UF/IFAS study confirms how paying attention to the 10-day forecast can affect a farmer’s bottom line. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2016
Agriculture Agents Intercept Invasive Be…
Notorious wood borer hitched a ride in a container of cucumbers arriving from Costa Rica. Read More
Citrus
January 20, 2016
USDA Report: Pesticide Residues Not A Fo…
Following monthly samplings, survey finds more than 99% of products sampled fall below EPA tolerances for pesticide residues. Read More
Citrus
January 19, 2016
Let’s Raise A Glass To FloridaR…
Challenges with unique solutions are needed to make the agriculture sector stronger. Read More
Citrus
January 18, 2016
Farming Fertility Practices Evolving Wit…
Improving water quality while maintaining production is being achieved in American agriculture. Read More
Citrus
January 16, 2016
3 Products To Better Serve Your Soil
Check out a sampling of the latest soil health enhancers. Read More
Citrus
January 15, 2016
Emphasis On Soil Health Moving Growers T…
There are benefits to be gained by taking care of what lies beneath. Read More
Citrus
January 15, 2016
Port Tampa Bay Embarks On Big Plans To M…
Opportunities for growers abound as the Panama Canal doubles its capacity. Read More
Citrus
January 13, 2016
Florida Legislature Passes Key Water Pol…
Legislation set up to preserve and restore the state’s water and natural resources for future generations. Read More
Citrus
January 13, 2016
American Farm Bureau Elects New Presiden…
Georgia farmer Zippy Duvall to take leadership reins from retiring Bob Stallman. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]