CRAFT Growers Planting 2,032 Florida Citrus Acres

Ernie Neffplanting, Research

CRAFT

Florida growers have signed up for 46 HLB research projects representing 2,032 acres through the Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) Foundation, Executive Director Kristen Carlson reported recently. Solid-set projects account for 1,641 acres; resets for 391 acres. “Some growers have more than one project,” Carlson said.

The CRAFT Foundation was organized last year to administer a program aimed at determining the efficacy of various HLB treatments that showed promise but needed to be further studied in commercial groves. The research projects in the CRAFT groves fall into one or more of five basic categories: resets, rootstock/scion, plant and soil nutrition, pest management and biostimulants. Learn more about the CRAFT Foundation’s background, including a report on its first meeting last summer.  

“The state of Florida, through CRDF (Citrus Research and Development Foundation) and FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), and the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) have funded the first two years of CRAFT,” Carlson said. “In CRAFT Cycle One, participants were paid $3,400 per program acre over two years for new plantings in a solid set project and $1,050 per program acre for reset projects over two years,” Carlson reported.

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She said the number of trees planted so far has not been tallied. “They are still going in the ground,” she explained. But Carlson is happy with the CRAFT Foundation’s progress. “This first year has focused on developing the program from the ground up, matching growers with projects and making sure the trees get in the ground before June 30,” she said. “We have been very pleased with the cooperation of the industry, the hard work from our board of directors, Technical Working Group volunteers and the enthusiasm of our growers. We are also very grateful for the support of Florida Citrus Mutual in making this happen from a funding standpoint.”  

A future round of CRAFT plantings, called Cycle Two, is planned.

Find out more about the CRAFT Foundation and its work.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large