California Citrus Mutual (CCM) in mid-June welcomed congressional support for critical federal citrus programs. The programs being supported include the Citrus Health Response Program, the HLB Multi-Agency Coordination Group and an additional $1 million in federal funding for a new citrus breeding program.
The House Appropriations Committee has included additional funding for citrus breeding research. The research is intended to develop and evaluate high-quality, superior citrus selections for use in citrus-producing regions. It will also evaluate rootstock and scion materials where citrus is commercially grown for the fresh fruit market.
This additional funding comes after Congress provided $1 million during the current fiscal year to establish the citrus breeding program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) field station in Parlier. The new California citrus breeding program will identify new citrus varieties that are best suited for changing climatic pressures such as drought. The program will also address consumer taste preferences as well as resistance to pests and diseases such as HLB.
The California breeding program is an expansion of the existing national USDA ARS citrus breeding program in Florida. The Florida program is focused primarily on varieties that are optimized for growing conditions in Florida. The Florida program has resulted in new varieties with higher yields, increased disease resistance, improved color and a longer shelf life. The Florida and California breeding programs, along with the continued efforts of the University of California Riverside citrus breeding program, will work together to deliver the best results for citrus growers.
“On behalf of the industry, we are appreciative of the committee and our congressional leaders for their commitment to fully developing this program and look forward to finding solutions to the issues California citrus growers are faced with every day,” said CCM President and Chief Executive Officer Casey Creamer.
Source: California Citrus Mutual
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