The California Department of Food and Agriculture has extended the California Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program for an additional four years. The extension came after several public hearings and a comment period that indicated overwhelming support for continuing the program among stakeholders.
The program was created by legislation in 2009, establishing a mechanism for citrus producers to assess themselves to provide support for ongoing efforts to protect against citrus threats such as the Asian citrus psyllid. The psyllid is a pest that spreads the bacteria causing huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, a fatal disease of citrus trees for which there is no cure. Producer assessments this year are expected to generate $15 million for the program.
“We are grateful to the citrus industry for its partnership in this program,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We believe that working together gives us the best chance to protect commercial and residential citrus trees throughout California.”
The legislation authorizing the citrus program, AB 281 (De Leon), required the re-evaluation of the program this year. The legislation also requires the program to be reviewed in 2017 – once again using stakeholder input through a public process to make a determination about its continuation.
The Asian citrus psyllid has been detected in nine California counties. Quarantines to help control its spread cover more than 45-thousand square miles. HLB has been detected just once in California – last year on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County.