The Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) recently heard presentations about the history and current work of both the New Varieties Development and Management Corporation (NVDMC) and the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF).
Rosa Walsh, Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) director of scientific research, said from 2003 to 2005, the FCC discussed the need for a program that would develop, license and introduce new fresh varieties. The FCC contracted with the NVDMC in 2006 to evaluate and prioritize Florida’s needs for new varieties, facilitate variety development through acquisition and research, and negotiate and acquire rights. The NVDMC had been formed the year before by the Florida Citrus Packers.
NVDMC Executive Director Peter Chaires said the organization’s main focus is to provide Florida citrus growers timely and affordable access to new varieties. Although initially formed to focus on fresh fruit varieties, 70% of NVDMC’s funding is now devoted to development of processed varieties.
A core NVDMC function includes management of the commercialization of select University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) fresh varieties. Another core function is identification and importation of varieties from other states and countries for evaluation in Florida.
NVDMC’s budget for 2021-22 is $500,000 and is funded through the general revenue provided by the state via contract with the FDOC. About 62% of its funds are budgeted for research. That research includes variety development by UF/IFAS and U.S. Department of Agriculture plant breeders.
Turning to the CRDF’s history, Walsh said conversations began in March 2008 regarding the development of an effort to solve production issues brought on by HLB.
Industry organizations subsequently formed the Greening/Canker Research Management and Commercialization Plan. That group, with the assistance of the National Academy of Sciences, identified research projects and began to conduct research with state general revenue and FDOC funding in 2008.
Conversations turned to the need for an organization to oversee that work permanently, and the CRDF was formed in May 2009 as a direct support organization of the University of Florida.
CRDF Chief Operating Officer Rick Dantzler said the organization focuses on advancing disease and production research and commercial product development to support Florida growers.
CRDF has funded 462 projects since 2009, totaling more than $164 million. Dantzler said grower dollars accounted for $65 million of the total spent. The Florida Legislature has contributed $64.4 million, and federal grants have totaled $23.5 million.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
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