The Citrus Research Board brought back its California Citrus Conference after a 3-year absence. The conference is meant to update the industry on current research and industry promotions. This year, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) started the conference with an update on its political action and projects it believes is important to citrus in the state.
CCM President Joel Nelson spoke about the need for a second containment facility in the state. “California has one and it’s at UC Davis. It’s over-subscribed and has massive amounts of lines as far as people wanting to use it,” Nelson said. “Florida is doing some research on huanglongbing, but it’s all specific to Florida citrus…Whatever they come up with will have to be replicated and tested in California. We can wait until we think we have something, or plan ahead and be ready to try something once we get somewhere down the research path.”
Nelson also gave a lengthy update on all of the politics CCM has been involved in, something that is immensely important for the industry. “So much of business activity in today’s society has government intrusion, involvement, and in this case, partnership,” Nelson said. “It’s just like a citrus tree; it takes seven years to get a yield, but it takes a lot of time before that to achieve that objective. You develop relationships, you work with credibility on issues before members of Congress or in the Senate and you work with them to create an opportunity for problems that exist. In this case, all of those relationships we’ve worked on for the past decade or two are starting to pay dividends and have been extremely helpful in this entire endeavor.”
The opening talk concluded with a rather motivational message. “There’s a degree of complacency that sets in with an ongoing program. People change, and as much as you have a priority, once you move on to a different dynamic, that priority lessens,” Nelson said. “Our job is to reinvigorate the industry to do what’s necessary. They’ve got to do their part to do what’s necessary to reduce vulnerability. They’ve got to do their part to reduce, if not eliminate, the population of Asian citrus psyllids.”
“It’s a neighborhood problem, not an individual issue,” Nelson added.