The U.S. Department of Agriculture is creating a Multi-Agency Coordination Group to improve management for Huanglongbing, or HLB, which causes the bacterial disease. And it’s kicking in a $1 million to get it going.

Citrus greening causes fruit to green, become misshapen and taste bitter. It has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout the United States. Florida and Georgia are under quarantine for HLB, and portions of California, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas are also under quarantine for the disease. So are Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

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The new framework will bring together USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, along with state departments of agriculture and the citrus industry.

It’ll be a single contact for all the federal and state entities that work on citrus issues and better enable the collective to collaborate on policy decisions, establish priorities, allocate critical resources, and collect, analyze, and disseminate information,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Dec. 12 as he announced the effort.

Also of interest:

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Homeowners from Texas Valley to Mid-Coast warned about disease

Citrus greening prediction tool discussed in free webcast