FAST TRACK is an innovative program developed through the cooperative efforts of Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP), the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), and New Varieties Development & Management Corp. (NVDMC). Through FAST TRACK, commercial citrus growers can obtain a license to plant promising experimental citrus selections for trial and evaluation.
FAST TRACK engages growers in the evaluation process and provides an opportunity for industry to help determine which selections have true commercial potential. FAST TRACK is intended to reduce the amount of time necessary to evaluate and commercialize promising new citrus varieties. The program is for fresh fruit varieties only.
Three suites of UF/IFAS experimental selections have been made available to industry, the first in 2013. Hundreds of growers have registered for these small-scale trials, and five of the selections have been elevated to commercial production. The recently revised FAST TRACK model is much more flexible for growers and gives them immediate options for trial or commercial plantings.
NVDMC has scheduled statewide grower meetings supporting the launch of FAST TRACK’s fourth suite. There is only one citrus selection, Marathon, in this latest release. Marathon is an early-season seedless mandarin.
All interested commercial citrus growers should plan to attend one of the meetings. A presentation will explain details about the program, and registration documentation will be distributed. Representatives from the UF/IFAS Plant Improvement Team and/or FFSP will also be present. Citrus Extension agents are encouraged to attend. Each meeting will last approximately an hour. The meeting schedule is as follows:
April 4, 10:00 a.m. — Highlands County UF/IFAS Extension office (Room 2), 4509 George Blvd., Sebring, FL
April 8, 10:00 a.m. — Taylor County Extension Office, 203 Forest Park Dr., Perry, FL
April 9, 9:30 a.m. — Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Rd., Lake Alfred, FL
April 9, 2:00 p.m. — UF/IFAS Indian River Citrus Research and Education Center (Auditorium), 2199 S. Rock Rd., Fort Pierce, FL
Seating may be limited. Please RSVP by email to Lucy.Nieves@ffva.com