Florida Legislature Supports Citrus

Josh McGillFlorida, Florida Citrus Mutual, Legislative

Matt Joyner, Florida Citrus Mutual’s (FCM) new chief executive officer and executive vice president, recently reported that FCM helped achieve substantial citrus industry support in the recent Florida legislative session.

Florida Legislature

Following are citrus-related items that Joyner highlighted in the recently passed state budget:

  • $8 million for the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) to continue basic research into HLB ($3 million) and to begin applied research through large-scale grower field trials ($5 million). CRDF was created to fund and select research and development projects, primarily for HLB.
  • $2 million for the Citrus Inspection Trust Fund to supplement grower assessments for citrus inspection, citrus forecasting and budwood protection (fully funded)
  • $6.2 million for the Citrus Health Response Program (fully funded)
  • $17 million for Florida Department of Citrus marketing programs (fully funded at $5 million recurring and $12 million general revenue)
  • $650,000 for the New Varieties Development and Management Corporation (plus additional spending authority of up to $350,000)

The legislature also recognized the opportunity of the Donaldson tree and other existing trees potentially exhibiting HLB tolerance or resistance by designating $3 million dollars to expedite plant material propagation and expand budwood capacity for those trees showing promise.

Joyner reported that the legislature’s Citrus Recovery Act updates Florida Statutes chapter 601, the Florida Citrus Code.

Another piece of legislation, SB 1000, relates to nutrient application rates. It authorizes citrus growers flexibility within current best management practices (BMPs) on nutrient applications through the use of site-specific nutrient management when supported by written recommendations from a Certified Crop Adviser who also holds a 4R Nutrient Management Specialty certification. The legislation also instructs the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to analyze the use of site-specific nutrient management for crops other than citrus and develop a research plan and interim recommendations for implementation.

Source: Indian River Citrus League

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