Governor Brown signed the 2017 Budget Act, authorizing $10 million in funding to go towards preventing the spread of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the disease it can carry, huanglongbing (HLB).
Commercial citrus growers spend close to $25 million every year to combat pests. The funds authorized by the Governor will help supplement the cost of fighting ACP.
Joel Nelsen, President of California Citrus Mutual, said in a press release, “California Citrus Mutual applauds Governor Brown and members of the California Legislature for recognizing the severity of this issue to not only the state’s citrus growers, but to the California economy and the many homeowners who enjoy citrus trees in their backyards.”
Florida’s citrus industry has been ravaged by HLB, with commercial production dropping over 70%. According to a University of Florida report, the spread of HLB has resulted in the loss of 7,945 jobs and $1.098 billion in industry output.
“We know from what has happened in Florida that there are real and lasting economic consequences if HLB is allowed to take hold. California citrus is a $3.6 billion industry and supports over 22,000 jobs all of which could be lost if HLB is not stopped,” Nelsen stated.
To-date, HLB has been found in 73 citrus trees in urban areas of the Los Angeles Basin which has led to multiple quarantines in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.