What Growers Say and Hear at Mutual Meetings

Ernie Neff Bactericides, Legislative

Florida Citrus Mutual

Mutual members lunching at Bartow meeting

Florida Citrus Mutual has been cooking for its grower members, hearing what’s on their minds and telling what the association is doing for them at area meetings this spring. At a recent meeting in Bartow, Mutual CEO Mike Sparks summarized what growers are talking about, and what Mutual is telling the growers.

“The entire citrus industry knows we’re still in the fight of all fights (with HLB),” Sparks says. “There are some growers with some optimism. We’re looking forward to new rootstocks on the way. We’re looking forward to the final results on the bactericides. And it’s true, early indications show mixed results with bactericides. So that’s not the ultimate silver bullet.”

Sparks says he’s telling growers, “We are focused on the activities in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. It’s a difficult legislative year in Tallahassee, but we’re getting closer.” Things are difficult because the Legislature is struggling to balance the budget. “The good news is … we’re optimistic on several of our requests, such as the research dollars, the new variety funds and the CHRP (Citrus Health Response Program). I believe (they) will all be 100 percent funded. Some of the other activities we’re supporting, like the citrus inspection trust fund and the Department of Citrus marketing dollars, they’ll be supported at some level. So our efforts continue to maximize those dollars that will supplement what the growers already pay into their programs.”

Florida Citrus Mutual is the state’s largest citrus grower association, representing growers over the entire Florida citrus belt.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large