As ACP Populations Persist, California Citrus Program Pushes Forward with Growers in Mind

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Nearly 13 years after the first Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) was detected in California, the state’s commercial groves have successfully remained free from Huanglongbing (HLB). While this accomplishment should be a source of pride for the industry, the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) is urging growers and industry members to stay diligent when it comes to prevention efforts.

ACP

Last year, a number of California’s top citrus growing regions saw a rise in sporadic ACP detections, raising concern within the industry. These ACP detections are a reminder that complacency is an equally menacing enemy to our success and the industry cannot let down its guard.

However, citrus growers are not expected to face this issue alone or empty-handed. CPDPP, with guidance from the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee (CPDPC), works with the industry’s best interest in mind and is dedicated to suppressing ACP populations and limiting the spread of HLB through a variety of means.

Over the years, CPDPP has tapped into the nation’s top scientists and researchers to continuously monitor trends and look for innovative tools and techniques that will help support its mission. In 2019, a task force of grower representatives and researchers collaboratively developed a Voluntary Grower Response Plan for HLB, which is meant to provide citrus growers with a strong toolbox of science-supported strategies and tactics to protect their orchards from HLB. Regulations are also continually evaluated to ensure efficacy and efficiency, resulting in new efforts, including comprehensive tarping requirements that have successfully curbed the spread of ACP alongside major corridors and, most recently, a scientifically supported reduction to survey and treatment areas from 400-meters to 250-meters to increase completion times and reduce costs.

“While we may continue to see ACP populations rise and fall over the next several years, as a state we need to remain vigilant – even when things are quiet – to ensure we continue to stay ahead of this elusive pest and dangerous disease,” said CPDPC chairman Jim Gorden. “The cost to manage ACP populations is much less than the potential hit to our industry if HLB takes hold, and we all need to work together – growers, packers, regulators, researchers and others – to keep our state’s citrus healthy.”

As the threat of HLB and ACP continue to put pressure on the commercial citrus industry, state agricultural officials want to reassure the industry that by working together the California citrus industry can remain prosperous. For more information on current regulatory activities and information on HLB and ACP, visit CitrusInsider.org.

The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program is an initiative funded by California citrus growers and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture dedicated to combating serious pests and diseases that threaten the state’s citrus trees. For more information, visit CitrusInsider.org.