The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) had a busy board of directors meeting in March. Rick Dantzler, CRDF chief operating officer, says the board utilized a new approach in seeking and approving research projects during the meeting.
“The board advanced a number of research topics through the vehicle of ‘directed research’ where we negotiate with specific scientists who we know can do what we would like to have done. This allows us to move more quickly than our typical request for proposals and hopefully less expensively. The downside is it prevents other researchers from having a shot at this money, but the dire state of the industry requires such an approach.”
According to Dantzler, the research topics advanced include several projects aimed at reducing fruit drop as well as tree injection to treat HLB-infected trees.
“Regarding injecting oxytetracycline, CRDF funded Ute Albrecht, an assistant professor of plant pathology with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, to continue her work, which has been quite remarkable to date,” Dantzler said. “The improvement in treated trees is noticeable, and she hasn’t detected any oxytetracycline residues. CRDF has contracted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Science Laboratories to do residual testing going forward because work from that lab can be used in EPA registration, if that is the will of the industry.”
The board also approved a change to its research contract template that guarantees only the first year of funding. For a researcher to receive funding for subsequent years, the researcher would have to appear before the CRDF research committee and receive a recommendation for the board to fund the project for the next year.
“I suspect few projects would be rejected, but with the industry in the shape it is in, CRDF needs this flexibility to react to changing priorities,” Dantzler said.
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