California Citrus Mutual Welcomes Congressional Support for Federal Citrus Programs; Casey Creamer Shares
EXETER, CA - In a move to boost the ongoing evolution and development of the citrus sector, Congress has announced support for critical citrus programs, including the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP), the HLB Multi-Agency Coordination (HLB MAC), and an additional $1 million in federal funding for a new citrus breeding program. This announcement was welcomed across the industry by organizations like California Citrus Mutual (CCM), which expressed its gratitude.
“On behalf of the industry, we are appreciative of the Committee and our Congressional leaders for their commitment to fully developing this program and look forward to finding solutions to the issues California citrus growers are faced with every day,” said CCM President and Chief Executive Officer Casey Creamer.
The House Appropriations Committee has included additional funding for citrus breeding research to develop and evaluate high-quality, superior citrus selections for use in citrus-producing regions, according to a release. The funding will also be used to evaluate rootstock and scion materials where citrus is commercially grown for the fresh fruit market.
This additional funding comes after Congress provided $1 million during the current fiscal year to establish the citrus breeding program at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) field station in Parlier. The new California citrus breeding program will identify new citrus varieties that are best suited for changing climatic pressures such as drought and consumer taste preferences, and that are resistant to pests and diseases such as HLB.
The California citrus program is an expansion of the existing national USDA ARS citrus breeding program located in Florida, which is mainly focused on varieties that are optimized for growing conditions in that state. The Florida program has resulted in new varieties with higher yields, increased disease resistance, improved color, and a longer shelf-life.
Both the Florida and California breeding programs, along with the continued efforts of the University of California citrus breeding program at UC Riverside, will work together to deliver the best results for Golden State citrus growers in the near future.
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