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USDA FUNDS CITRUS GREENING RESEARCH, FORMS SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Source: USDA news release

United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced more than $1.5 million in funding to expand bio-control efforts to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening.

This action is the first designation of funds by the Huanglongbing Multi-agency Coordination Group (HLB MAC Group) since it was established by Vilsack in December.

"Citrus greening poses a significant threat to the citrus industry and the thousands of jobs that depend on it. It could also further drive up fruit and juice prices if we don't act," said Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"USDA is committed to fighting and beating this destructive disease."

The funds announced today have enabled USDA to sign cooperative agreements with Florida (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services), Texas (Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation), and California (Citrus Research Board and California Department of Food and Agriculture) to coordinate the fight against citrus greening.

These joint efforts will significantly increase the production of the parasitic wasp known to control populations of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), the pest that spreads citrus greening in citrus trees.

Florida, Texas and California have developed biocontrol expansion plans that factor in regional elements in order to quickly bolster biocontrol production and release. This will expand the ability to control the ACP on a larger scale, especially in urban areas where citrus trees grow in yards as well as organic orchards. USDA's efforts surrounding biocontrol date back to 2009.


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