The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) has spent $149 million during 10 years of existence, Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler reports. He adds that 457 projects have been funded. Dantzler made a report on total CRDF activities to the group’s board of directors in November. He also announced a new slate of CRDF officers.
“This has been quite an enterprise,” Dantzler says. “We have really turned over every stone we could think of to try to find cures for this disease (HLB) and take on other things that confront the industry. It’s pretty remarkable, really, when you look at what’s been accomplished over the last 10 years. So, we’ve really gone for it and we don’t intend to slow down.”
Dantzler emphasizes that more than half of the money spent by CRDF has been funded by Florida citrus growers. “It (grower funding) is right at $78 million or $79 million,” he says. “That’s important when you’re talking to (state) legislators and members of Congress.” The federal and state governments have also funded significant amounts of the research supported by CRDF. “It means something to them (the Legislature and Congress) to know that growers have been funding the lion’s share of this effort,” Dantzler says.
The new CRDF president is David Howard, succeeding Larry Black, who served as president for two years. Dantzler describes Black as “a phenomenal president” and Howard as “a darn good grower.” Other officers are Rob Atchley, vice president; John Updike, secretary; and Ron Mahan, treasurer.
CRDF was created in 2009 to essentially succeed the long-running Florida Citrus Production Research Advisory Council (FCPRAC). FCPRAC funded citrus production research; CRDF does that and also funds efforts to commercialize research, bringing it to use in the grove. FCPRAC funded research on a wide array of production issues. CRDF focuses on ways to help growers cope with HLB, but also funds work on other production issues impacting growers.
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