Column sponsored by the Citrus Research and Development Foundation
As we start the new fiscal year at the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), there are a number of priority activities in place to focus effort and resources on important tools for managing citrus in the presence of HLB. Here are some highlights.
Currently, CRDF is sponsoring 86 projects that combine the traditional research efforts overseen by the Research Management Committee of citrus growers and the Commercial Product Delivery Committee (CPDC), a diverse group devoted to moving research and development results to the field. The current portfolio of projects represent a portion of the more than 400 projects that have been conducted through CRDF oversight and funding since the organization began.
Project managers and the committees mentioned above are working to reduce the focus to the most critical projects that can contribute to short-term management tools for growers in the 2- to 3-year timeframe, while narrowing the longer-term research to just a few key topics, such as HLB-resistant plants. This is made possible by the commitment of federal funds to support longer-term research that can provide novel approaches to HLB management.
We encourage you to browse the CRDF website (citrusrdf.org), and in particular the “CPDC Project Managers Quarterly Reports,” on the lower left of the home page under “CRDF Reports.” Here you can learn more about the progress being made on topics such as bactericides, thermal therapy, HLB resistance, Asian citrus psyllid management and more. The next quarterly report will be posted following the August board meeting. Individual research project progress reports remain available through the search function highlighted under the “Growers” tab on the website.
External review of the CRDF and other U.S. citrus research progress is being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences review panel. Feedback from this intensive review will provide additional direction and priorities.
CRDF is working to improve the coordination of the many projects being conducted by a wide range of scientists, and our efforts include how to improve communication to growers and other interested parties on progress with this difficult disease challenge. Combined technical reports and a grower panel at Florida Citrus Mutual’s annual industry conference in June offered an update on progress on some topics. The Citrus Expo coming in mid-August will again highlight progress in the battle against HLB, with a number of update presentations highlighting work sponsored by CRDF. Research will be presented by University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as a means to share with growers the best available information.
Finally, CRDF continues to receive and respond to a wide range of solver communications that offer varying levels of evidence for technologies or products that have been developed or are in testing. Through our project managers and then through the CPDC, CRDF is responding to these inquiries to ensure that all possible solutions are given consideration.
We invite you to attend our committee and board meetings to learn more. They are public meetings, and the schedule is posted on our webpage.
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