California has a 5-point plan to attack HLB

Once a tree is severely infected with huanglongbing, it will experience premature and excessive fruit drop. ( Photo courtesy Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program )

A California committee that focuses on fighting pests and diseases that threaten citrus crops has developed a strategic plan to fight huanglongbing (HLB) with five priorities guiding its focus.

The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee completed its planning process in February. The plan identifies five strategies, according to a news release:

  • Quickly detect and eradicate diseased trees with an improved urban survey and sampling;
  • Control movement of Asian citrus psyllids and implement a regional psyllid quarantine;
  • Suppress psyllids with grower participation in treatment programs and remove uncared for host plants;
  • Improve data technology, analysis and sharing, and explore new solutions for digitizing data;
  • Use outreach and collaboration to encourage homeowner and industry participation in efforts, and foster local government support

The committee formed in 2010 to advise the California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary and industry about efforts to fight citrus pests and disease. Members of the committee, the scientific/research community, the Citrus Research Board, California Citrus Mutual and others were involved in the HLB plan, according to the release.

The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee is aligning its budget to achieve the five strategies, according to the release.

Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations facilitated the process, using grower and other industry input along the way.

“Our efforts to limit the spread of HLB in California have been impactful, but the issue is fast moving, and the committee recognized a need to be more thoughtful, strategic and efficient as we plan for the future,” Nick Condos, interim director of the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program, said in the release. “These five main strategies will help guide our decision making and resource allocation moving forward, while providing guideposts for continual improvement.”

For more information on the prevention program, visit citrusinsider.org.

“It is critical this plan be ingrained in our work for the program in order to remain focused on our goals,” committee chairman Jim Gordon said in the release. “This plan will not collect dust on a shelf and I’m confident committee and industry members will see the influence of this plan in our meetings and in the subcommittees’ work as activities align to support the goals outlined in the plan.”

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