Column sponsored by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation
Within the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), the daily challenge of keeping up with a wide array of HLB topics, more than 75 currently funded projects, and monthly committee and board meetings translates into a constant flow of information. Project managers meet weekly to discuss progress and oversee the portfolio, and many CRDF staff, project managers and those funded by CRDF communicate to Florida growers and other industry groups. Project investigators file quarterly progress reports from each funded project, and project managers provide written summaries of Commercial Product Delivery Committee topics internally and to the public via our webpage.
Despite these efforts, a common question persists: “What is coming from the grower commitment to HLB research and delivery of solutions?” While CRDF is swimming in project details, our communication of broader progress is being lost in the struggle that growers face every day in making decisions that affect their groves, budgets and businesses. Among the needs for communication, we recognize that the industry needs more summaries and compilations of progress on given topics to complement the specific reports and presentations that are readily available. The conclusions across topics of interest like Asian citrus psyllid management, therapies to reduce disease in HLB-infected trees and progress in delivery of resistant rootstocks and scions have become common threads in CRDF conversations.
To address these needs, CRDF will summarize and communicate to industry what it has learned via the following methods:
- CRDF project managers are developing a series of topical reports written for growers that summarize the body of work funded by CRDF since 2009. These brief reports will be distributed and posted as a series on the CRDF webpage as they are completed. They will include a list of the projects funded to complement the written summaries. Early topics include research on plant nutrition in the presence of HLB; ACP attraction, repellency, and responses of ACP to color, volatiles, sound, etc.; and thermal therapy. A range of other topics will follow as they are completed.
- Per the 2015 CRDF strategic plan that recommended the development of a playbook for growers, the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has been developing a summary of information and recommendations for citrus production in the presence of HLB. This effort will provide valuable information to growers on work sponsored by CRDF and by other sources.
- The National Academy of Sciences portfolio review is well underway. The outcome of this project will be an independent report of research results and identification of recommended priorities for further investment. This group will be reviewing published results and interviewing researchers to gain an evidence-based view of results and needs.
- CRDF committee members and directors are your representatives. Please view them as informed sources of information on what CRDF is doing and how it matters to the industry.
These communications will help fill the gap in information on management of citrus with HLB and will guide CRDF forward.
Harold Browning is chief operations officer of CRDF. The foundation is charged with funding citrus research and getting the results of that research to use in the grove.
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