Biggest Need for Georgia Citrus Is Research

Josh McGillGeorgia, Research

The Georgia Citrus Commission members have been selected to serve the state’s up-and-coming industry. Now it is time for those five individuals to determine the pathway for the industry to be successful for the foreseeable future.

Georgia Citrus
University of Georgia citrus research includes evaluation of Sugar Belle on four different rootstocks.

Commission member Lindy Savelle believes research is the key component in advancing the state’s citrus industry. She said that is why the Georgia Citrus Association (GCA) has gone to the University of Georgia to ask for help with research, and the scientists are stepping up to perform the needed work.

Savelle, a longtime supporter of Georgia citrus and president of the GCA, believes research is needed so growers can eventually produce varieties suitable to Georgia’s climate and soil types. Georgia growers have had to depend a lot on information from other citrus-producing states.

“In Georgia, our climate is different, and our soil is different,” Savelle says. “We have leaned heavily on Florida to help us out, and California too, to a certain degree with regulations and helping us get our feet under us. Florida’s got all sorts of varieties that are continuing to come out, but that research is not done for Georgia’s climate and Georgia’s soil. Our soils are heavier here than in Florida. Certainly, our weather is different, where we gradually acclimate our trees. Florida is hot one day and cold the next.”

She says the Georgia Citrus Commission will fund research, education and marketing. While nothing is set in stone yet, she expects the largest percentage of funding will be spent on research.

Savelle is one of five members appointed to the commission. It will support Georgia’s growing industry through financial backing from assessments on products marketed for research, education and promotion of the state’s citrus.

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Clint Thompson

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