Asian citrus psyllid detection locations north of the grapevine are often close to the state’s main highways. Leaders say this shows some complacency among the industry and recent meetings aimed to re-engage enforcement.
As the Asian citrus pysllid continues showing up in more counties around the state, president of California Citrus Mutual, Joel Nelson, says the pattern in which the finds are happening says a lot. “The detections that are occurring are still singular in scope, but they seem to be along transportation corridors,” Nelson said. “We also identified that during the course of the season, the industry was becoming complacent in adhering to the existing rules. They weren’t doing it on purpose and there wasn’t any malice involved. It was just during the course of a season or day, your attention span changes or gets redirected and you kind of lose focus in that regard.”
Nelson says the industry must pay close attention. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the industry is shooting itself in the foot somewhat. We talked a lot about enforcing the existing regulations and ensuring that everyone is doing everything they can possibly do,” Nelson said. “Case in point, we have pictures during the course of the navel season in which a couple of shippers dropped bins for harvesting fruit in a grove; the bins are readily identifiable, but they had green waste in them. That’s not suppose to happen. We understand people change, personnel change, oversight changes in an operation and so we just need to do a better job. At Citrus Mutual, we believe a stronger allocation toward underwriting enforcement at a local level is important.”