USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced awards to combat citrus greening disease. The funding will support research and Extension programs made through the emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program (CDRE). CDRE was authorized as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.
“The need to advance research and Extension to develop management strategies for citrus greening has reached a critical juncture,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Severe damage to the Florida citrus crop from 2017 hurricanes further exacerbates the pressure on the industry and the need for new strategies to address the disease.”
Florida’s citrus industry has lost nearly half of its $1.5 billion on-tree fruit value in just 10 years due to citrus greening.
The grants announced include a University of Florida project that will develop Asian citrus psyllid detection systems, hydroponics and sensor-based irrigation, integrated pest management with biocontrol, and economic analysis to support citrus trees grown under protective screen structures. They also include an Agriculture Research Service (ARS) project that will develop citrus hybrids that are tolerant or resistant to citrus greening disease to help revitalize Florida’s citrus industry.
Five grants totaling nearly $17 million were awarded for fiscal year 2017:
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, $3,846,151
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $3,652,166
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $3,518,395
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $2,951,933
USDA-ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Lab, Fort Pierce, Florida, $2,922,144
Project details can be found at the NIFA website.