Florida Citrus Mutual is reporting that USDA has changed the guidelines on the “grove block and immediate vicinity being free of citrus canker” rule. The definition of “immediate vicinity” has historically been interpreted by USDA as a 50-foot buffer.
However, under the new interpretation, the 50-foot buffer has been reduced to any kind of visible boundary around a grove block; i.e. a road, canal or wide middle. As long as there are no host trees within the acceptable visible boundary, the “grove block” is considered free of citrus canker. Remember, there has to be a physical divide – you can’t take a grove block and just divide it into sections on paper if it is contiguous. If there is no physical divide, the regulation reverts back to the 50 foot buffer. For more information contact Jim Heidegger at 863-298-7777.