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USDA announces research funding to fight citrus greening

USDA announces research funding to fight citrus greening

Approximately $23 million being made available

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

In an effort to help farmers and producers combat Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening, the United States Department of Agriculture is making nearly $23 million available for research initiatives to try and come up with a solution to the volatile disease.

"Citrus greening threatens citrus production in the United States and other nations," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. "It will take continued collaboration with growers, state governments, and researchers to find viable solutions to end this harmful disease. Only long-term solutions through research will help to stop this disease that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of citrus producers and workers and billions of dollars in sales."

The money will be divided up between Kansas State University, University of Florida and University of California.

Citrus greening is caused by the Asian citrus psyllid. It has infected more than 75% of Florida’s citrus crop and has been detected in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina, forcing quarantines around the country.

The grants will be given out by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). They will favor any projects that focus on multistate or multi-institutional solutions. Applicants will also need to speak with stakeholders to make sure their projects are economically viable.

Pre-applications that must include a Stakeholder Relevance Statement must be submitted by June 1st, 2015. Those applicants who are chosen to submit a full application must do so by August 14th, 2015.

Symptoms of trees infected with citrus greening include blotchy, yellow veins on leaves, misshapen fruit appearance and the fruit tasting salty and bitter.

Join the conversation and tell us what kind of project you would put forward to help farmers fight citrus greening.