The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $20.1 million in grants to university researchers for research and extension projects to help citrus producers fight Huanglongbing (HLB), commonly known as citrus greening disease.
"Citrus greening has affected more than 75 percent of Florida citrus crops and threatens production all across the United States," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in making the Feb 8 announcement. "The research and extension projects funded today bring us one step closer to providing growers real tools to fight this disease, from early detection to creating long-term solutions for the industry, producers and workers."
Fiscal year 2015 grants include:
-University of California, $3,990,772
-National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD., $1,951,763
-University of Florida, Gainesville, $3,999,508
-USDA Agricultural Research Service, Ithaca, N.Y., $1,951,763
-New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, N.M., $3,320,000
-Kansas State University, Manhattan, $3,734,480
Information about all of the projects funded this year can be found online.
All of the projects funded this year meet the priorities recommended by the Citrus Disease Subcommittee, which is mandated by the Farm Bill to provide an annual consultation with NIFA to recommend priorities, an agenda, and annual budget for the CDRE. The Citrus Disease Subcommittee is part of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board and will meet Feb. 17-18, in Riverside, Calif., to discuss and recommend the priorities for the 2016 CDRE awards. Additional information can be found online.
This funding announced Feb. 8 is available through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and is administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The SCRI program addresses critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and extension activities.
Since the program's inception in 2014, USDA has granted $43.6 million in research dollars to combat citrus greening disease.
Citrus greening disease was initially detected in Florida in 2005 and has since affected the vast majority of Florida's citrus-producing areas. It has also been detected in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas and several residential trees in California. It has also been detected in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 14 states in Mexico. A total of 15 U.S. states or territories are under full or partial quarantine due to the detected presence of the Asian citrus psyllid, a vector for HLB. Those states include Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.