California citrus

Addressing HLB Challenges Through Organic Citrus Survey

Brian German Citrus, Fruits & Vegetables, Industry

An organic citrus survey is being offered as a way to learn more about the challenges and successes the industry has had in combatting Huanglongbing (HLB). The project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is a collaboration between the Organic Center, the University of Florida, and the University of California, Riverside. The survey is part of an ongoing project aimed at assisting organic citrus growers who are working to combat HLB.

organic citrus survey

Since the discovery of HLB in the U.S. back in 2005 the disease has had a devastating impact on both conventional and organic citrus. While HLB has been found in all major citrus-producing states, Florida has been hit the hardest. Florida’s production of citrus has declined between 50 and 75 percent since HLB was first discovered. It is estimated that all groves in Florida have been infected with the disease. The damage incurred by organic growers has been particularly problematic. Many of the mitigation techniques that have been developed to help keep the disease as bay are not applicable to organic production.

The survey is designed to gather more insight as to how HLB has been affecting organic growers and other industry members. The information that is gathered through the organic citrus survey will remain entirely confidential. The data will be used in the development of a holistic research project proposal intended to help protect the organic citrus industry from further damage. The goal is to establish research priorities to craft additional funding proposals moving forward.

The organic citrus survey is part of a USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative planning grant. Several citrus growers as well as industry members are also helping to further the efforts of the project. Any questions about the survey or inquiries about how to become involved in the project should be directed at Jessica Shade at the Organic Center.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West