Arizona Agriculture Farmer Celebrates Citrus Research Initiative
Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: The newly passed 2014 Farm Bill with the President’s signature creates a new competitive research and extension grant program, the Citrus Disease Research and Extension Initiative, designated to combat
From one of America’s largest citrus growing regions, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17) recently praised passage of the Farm Bill agreement, which includes his new initiative to fight citrus greening, guarantees $125 million in citrus disease research funding over the next five years, and authorizes an additional $125 million in discretionary funding designated to combat the disease.
Rooney noted that as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, he would fight to ensure that the program receives the full $50 million each year. “Florida’s farmers,
Aside from a constantly changing market, citrus orchards in Arizona now face an increased risk from pests, most notably the Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive insect that has decimated groves in Florida by spreading the citrus greening disease. A few of the insects have been found in Yuma and in Nogales, but the species isn’t established in Arizona and has not been shown to carry the disease.
“I’m very excited that this bill includes our new initiative to fight citrus disease, and provides the funding needed to help win this battle,” added Rooney. “Getting this funding to fight citrus greening is a huge victory not just for the growers in my district, but for our entire state and everyone in this country who drinks orange juice.”
Rooney noted that the citrus industry creates $9 billion in annual economic impact and 76,000 jobs in Florida alone, but faces a grave threat from citrus greening, which has wiped out thousands of acres while costing the state thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.
In Arizona, our citrus industry contributes more than $38 million to our state, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The disease threatens our citrus industry and will ultimately impact the availability of our citrus in the grocery or farmer's market if the disease is not addressed.Join our Family!