What is in this article?:
Biocontrol efforts to combat citrus greening in Texas, California and Florida are getting a boost from USDA.
Increase predator production
Federal officials say these joint efforts will significantly increase production of the predator wasps to help control populations of ACP in all three states. Officials say while commercial citrus groves have been instrumental in treating trees to prevent the spread of the psyllids, ACP propagation in backyard citrus varieties, including orange jasmine ornamentals, a popular citrus variety most often found in residential neighborhoods in sub-tropical regions add to the threat.
Florida, Texas and California have developed biocontrol expansion plans that factor in regional elements to bolster bio-control production and release. This will expand the ability to control the ACP on a larger scale, especially in urban areas where citrus trees grow in those residential areas.
Secretary Vilsack created the HLB MAC Group last December to foster greater coordination among federal and state agencies in responding to citrus greening. The Group includes representatives from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), as well as State departments of agriculture and the citrus industry.
The HLB MAC Group serves to coordinate and prioritize federal research with industry's efforts to complement and fill research gaps, reduce unnecessary duplication, speed progress, and provide practical tools for citrus growers to use.
Previous USDA research funding to fight HLB includes commitments of just under $1.5 million in each of the past three fiscal years by ARS, in addition to NIFA steadily awarding increased grants from $878,000 in FY 2009 up to $10.4 million in FY 2012.