Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 2 approved all $32.6 million worth of citrus-related funding in the state budget, Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM) Executive Vice President/CEO Mike Sparks reported. The budget had been set earlier by the state Legislature.
Sparks detailed the citrus appropriations:
- Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), $3 million
- Citrus Research and Field Trial (CRAFT) program, $5 million
- New varieties, $500,000
- Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) marketing, $17 million which includes $5 million recurring and $12 million for the Citrus Recovery Act
- Federal Citrus Health Response Program funding pass through, $7 million
CRDF is a research- and development-funding agency formed primarily to combat the devastating disease HLB. CRAFT is a program that provides growers incentives to plant citrus trees that will be used to research practices aimed at mitigating the impacts of HLB in groves. The FDOC is the long-standing state agency that primarily promotes Florida’s citrus products.
“The $32.6 million equates to 58 cents per box at today’s production levels,” Sparks stated. “By any measure, it was a great year despite tough times.”
“Now it is time to take this investment and make it work for growers and the state of Florida,” Sparks stated in an FCM publication issued before DeSantis approved the budget. “The money is there to do great things. Let’s sell more orange juice and fresh citrus. Let’s uncover more solutions to greening both in the lab and through field trials. Let’s create new varieties that open markets and benefit the Florida citrus grower.”
FCM board member Ned Hancock stated that “no other agricultural commodity has garnered the support that we have, and folks in our industry should recognize that.”
FCM is the state’s largest association of citrus growers. Its mission includes lobbying on behalf of growers at the state and federal levels.
Source: Florida Citrus Mutual
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