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California invests additional $9.6m toward fight against citrus greening

Staff Writer |
California will spend an additional $9.6 million this year in the fight against a deadly tree disease that has already decimated the citrus industries in Florida and Texas.

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The money was authorized on May 26 when Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 243, which increases the annual budget for the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP).

Introduced by Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) and co-authored by a group of Assembly members representing the Valley, the bill adds $9.6 million to the already allocated $25 million for the program specifically to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), the fatal tree disease also known as citrus greening.

“It is an honor to be a co-author and present SB 243 in the Assembly,” said Assembly member Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno). “Our state’s citrus growers are under a real threat from disease pressures and these funds will help the Department of Food and Agriculture combat destructive pests like the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) and the diseases it spreads.”

California Citrus Mutual (CCM), the Exeter-based association of citrus growers, says the money will be spent to require more quarantines, to expand breeding and releases of a parasitic wasp that is the natural enemy of the pest, conduct additional surveys of residential citrus trees and more research to find better treatments and possibly a cure.

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