Citrus has been under siege in the United States. Research to combat the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the deadly greening disease it spreads, Huanglongbing (HLB), has been ongoing and expensive. But potential relief is on the way.
California Citrus Mutual (CCM) has noted that leading Farm Bill negotiators in the House and Senate had reached an “agreement in principle.” The CCM press release said the agreement signals a final deal will be made before the end of the year.
Included in the initial agreement is language providing $25 million per year for 5 years for research specific to the invasive insect Asian citrus psyllid and plant deadly plant disease Huanglongbing (HLB).
The Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund will build upon the program created in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) title in the 2014 Farm Bill which dedicated research funding for citrus.
“The trust fund language is a significant win for U.S. citrus growers,” says CCM President Joel Nelsen. “It’s critical for the future of our industry and the domestic citrus market that we continue to invest in research aimed to find a solution for HLB.”
Negotiators have also agreed to maintain funding for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program and the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). Additionally, funding will continue for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) program which helps growers overcome artificial trade barriers.