USDA GIVES $6.5 MILLION TO FIGHT CITRUS GREENING

BONITA SPRINGS (June 13, 2014) By Kevin Bouffard, The Ledger – Florida citrus growers got some good news at the end of a difficult 2013-14 citrus season when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced another $6.5 million for three Florida projects aimed at fighting public enemy No. 1, the bacterial disease citrus greening.

Edward Avalos, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, announced the new money during the Thursday luncheon at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Meeting in Bonita Springs, which attracted about 750 industry officials and their families.

The money will finance three projects: $2 million to field test anti-microbial chemicals that have been shown in the lab to kill the greening bacteria in a tree; $2 million to develop a technology to use in commercial groves to apply heat citrus trees, also shown in preliminary research to kill bacteria inside the trees; and $2.5 million to set up model citrus groves employing various proven and new methods to grow citrus trees in the greening environment.

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