The mission of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is to promote and protect the food supply, enhance trade and protect the environment. The agency annually provides information on the steps it takes to fulfill its mission goals.
In such a diverse and highly populated state, the challenges are great. Much of the growing regions are geographic islands that must be monitored for foreign pest invasions.
The task begins at CDFA’s 16 border protection stations, where more than 20 million private vehicles and 7 million commercial vehicles are inspected each year. Inspectors at these facilities reject more than 82,000 lots of plant material (fruits, vegetables, potted plants, etc,) each year for violations of California or federal plant quarantine laws.
One of the major areas of interest for CDFA is watching out for huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus. Last year, the agency sampled 72,975 citrus plants for the disease or for its carrier, a tiny insect called Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). Using 52,158 traps, the agency found 2,253 ACP, most in back yards, not in commercial orchards. Several residential citrus trees were removed, and quarantine areas were expanded as needed to prevent the spread of ACPs or active disease.
Detection of ACP and/or HLB will remain a high-priority program for CDFA for the foreseeable future.
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