To say Florida’s citrus industry faces its fair share of challenges would be an understatement. Times like these call for growers and allied industry to pull together to seek solutions and opportunities in the coming days. On Jan. 27-28, the Florida Citrus Show will provide an excellent opportunity for education on the most pressing issues of the day and fellowship with people facing the same challenges.
Formerly the Indian River Citrus Seminar, the newly named Florida Citrus Show is designed to benefit all of the state’s citrus producing areas. The education program features topics that cut a cross-section of citrus production interests. During the two-day event, 23 presentations will be made by leading experts from UF/IFAS, USDA, and other associations.
“Since the issues facing the citrus industry have become bigger and broader than the regional issues, we felt it was time to change the name and focus of the Indian River Citrus Seminar,” says Doug Bournique, executive director of the Indian River Citrus League, which is a show partner with Florida Grower and UF/IFAS. “The steering committee realized that 90% of the issues that growers on the River face also are issues that growers in each citrus producing county face. We felt the seminar and trade show focused on a wider range of topics would be beneficial to all growers throughout the state.”
Past survey results illustrate the value that growers take away from the educational sessions. Last year, 80% of attendees surveyed said the educational session speakers did a good-to-excellent job.
There is no question that greening remains the No. 1 threat to Florida’s citrus industry, so Thursday’s presentations will focus on the disease. There will be an update on the progress of the more than 100 research projects that are under way to find solutions to greening. In addition, there will be a number of presentations on psyllid control, including pesticide performance, results of areawide spraying, biopesticides, low-volume applications, and the economics of psyllid control. In addition, Syngenta Crop Protection is sponsoring the travel of Renato Bassanezzi, FUNDECITRUS, San Paulo, Brazil, who will be giving an update on the progress of fighting the disease in his country.
The show will feature more than just citrus greening. Presentations will focus on supply and demand, the new rules for shipping fresh fruit, maximum residue levels for exports, high-density grove planting, and a look into the political and regulatory issues important to growers today. There are a number of exciting new citrus varieties that will be featured in two presentations, and attendees can samples these varieties on the showroom floor during educational session breaks.
“Our Florida Citrus Show planning committee has made a good effort to plan a program that not only updates growers on the best current science available to solve our problems today, but also on the information that is being developed to shape our industry in the future,” says Tim Gaver, St. Lucie County Extension agent.
Tools Of The Trade
On the showroom floor and outside, there will be more than 80 exhibitors on hand to showcase their products, technology, and services. If it is a tool needed to efficiently grow citrus, it will likely be found among the exhibitors at the Florida Citrus Show.
For those planning to attend, there is no need to worry about the weather because the educational sessions and exhibits will be housed in the new, Havert L. Fenn Center. More than 90% of those surveyed from last year’s event ranked the Fenn Center as a good-to-excellent facility to host the show.
Make New Friends
Another benefit of the Florida Citrus Show is it allows growers to reconnect with old friends or make new ones with people who share a common interest. “While the Florida Citrus Show represents a great educational opportunity, at the end of the day, it also is a great get together for growers and the industry that supports them,” says Gerry Bogdon, associate publisher of Florida Grower. “It is an event we are proud to be associated with, and we look forward to seeing a great crowd there.”