USDA NIFA Providing Citrus Disease Research Grants

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently awarded 12 grants totaling over $45 million for researchers to combat citrus greening disease. A NIFA spokesperson says the research “is critical to help farmers find scientifically sound solutions to citrus greening.” Although citrus greening is a serious threat to the citrus industry worldwide, significant progress has been made to coordinate a multipronged approach for citrus greening management. The progress includes the suppression of an insect that carries and spreads the disease. The 12 grants were awarded to the University of California Riverside, University of California Davis, Yale University, and University of Florida Gainesville, among other higher education institutions. Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture projected Florida orange production for 2020-21 down 15 percent. Citrus greening is one of many factors for the lower production, a trend occurring over the past decade. It’s estimated citrus greening has caused a 21 percent reduction in fresh citrus fruit and a 72 percent decline in orange production in the United States.