Farmers recently received citrus updates during a series of grower town hall events hosted by California Citrus Mutual. The three town halls were held in Coachella, Ventura,
“We are constantly out doing survey work,” said Victoria Hornbaker, Director of the newly formed Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) within the California Department of Food and Agriculture. “We’ve got folks all over the state doing a risk survey. We also do a very intense delimitation any time we find an HLB tree in the ground, or if we detect an Asian citrus psyllid carrying the bacteria that causes HLB.”
The CPDPD was established and budgeted specifically for enhancing detection, suppression, and eradication activities to keep the California citrus industry safe from disease. The citrus updates that were provided during the town halls also included an assessment of where the current numbers stand for HLB detections in California.
“We’re up to 1,650 in total and those are mandatorily removed for the most part,” said Hornbaker, who also noted they are receiving great cooperation from the homeowners during the eradication process. “We have not detected HLB or an Asian citrus psyllid carrying the bacteria in a commercial grove at this point.”
Increased efforts in recent years have helped in limiting the spread of HLB and keeping the number of ACP from becoming unmanageable. Implementing tarping requirements and establishing quarantine zones to regulate the movement of citrus have been key components of the preventative approach to the disease. “I’m really happy with the reduction in numbers that we’ve seen over the last couple of years of ACP detections in the valley and I think a part of that is attributed to the tarping,” Hornbaker noted.