USDA Funds Three Georgia Citrus Projects

Josh McGill Georgia, Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) funded three citrus projects in Georgia for fiscal year 2023.

citrus projects
Adult citrus leafminer (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, University of California)

The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) received $103,225 for a satsuma education project. GDA will partner with local farmers and produce distributors to increase the availability of Georgia-grown satsuma mandarins in retail locations. The project will work closely with retail buyers to educate them about the unique characteristics of satsumas and the benefits of carrying locally grown produce in their stores.

Funding of $96,304 went to GDA for managing citrus leafminer (CLM) and its impact on citrus canker. The University of Georgia Research Foundation and GDA will conduct research work on CLM population dynamics and CLM management in Georgia citrus. The research will benefit growers with insecticide application decision-making and help reduce unnecessary applications of insecticides in groves.

GDA will receive $99,990 for detection and characterization of the HLB-causing bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) in commercial citrus. Early detection of the bacterium is critical to

prevent spread and establishment in commercial plantings. The University of Georgia Research Foundation will select commercial citrus groves where HLB has been confirmed and conduct molecular testing of asymptomatic plant tissues. This will facilitate the rapid removal of infected, pre-symptomatic trees. Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) traps will be installed and regularly monitored.

To investigate the origin and adaptations of CLas strains causing HLB in Georgia, their genetic diversity will be characterized and compared against populations in other locations. This project will provide updated information on the best strategies for early CLas detection in trapped psyllids and in asymptomatic plant samples.

Nationwide, USDA AMS allocated $72.9 million in fiscal year 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding. Other citrus projects were funded in California and Arizona. See a complete list of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program projects in all states here.

Source: USDA AMS

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