breeding program

California Citrus Breeding Program Gets More Funds

Daniel CooperBreeding, California Corner

breeding program

The presidents of the Citrus Research Board (CRB) and California Citrus Mutual (CCM) applauded congressional leaders for recently approving additional funds for the new citrus breeding program in Parlier, California. Congress is allocating an additional $500,000 in federal funding on top of the $1 million granted last year to expand the program into California. The program will now receive $1.5 million in federal funds on an annual basis along with the $500,000 that CRB provides the program with annually. 

“CRB was instrumental in developing the concept for the California-based program and was also involved in efforts to establish the nationwide program while CCM advocated to secure funding,” said CRB President Marcy Martin. “Our two organizations working together on behalf of the industry has been instrumental in getting this program off the ground.”

The funding “will help us find solutions to issues specific to our growers located in California,” said CCM President and CEO Casey Creamer. “I would like to specifically extend our gratitude to Congressmen (Jim) Costa and (David) Valadao and Sen. (Alex) Padilla for championing the need for this program in D.C.”

The California citrus breeding program will focus on fresh market citrus. Funding will go toward research and development of:

  • High-quality citrus selections well suited to California growing regions
  • Changing climatic pressures
  • Consumer taste preferences
  • Resistance to pest and diseases, such as huanglongbing

The California program is an expansion of the existing national U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) citrus breeding program located in Fort Pierce, Florida. That program is focused primarily on varieties that are optimized for Florida growing conditions. Work done through the Florida program has resulted in new varieties with higher yields, increased disease resistance, improved color and longer shelf life.

The Florida and California breeding programs along with the continued support from the University of California (UC) Riverside citrus breeding program will work together to deliver results for California-based growers.

The California citrus breeding program is located at the USDA ARS field station in Parlier. Progress continues to be made with the addition of a dedicated scientist, developing plans for construction of a greenhouse and laboratory, and securing additional ground for the program.

Sources: California Citrus Mutual and California Research Board

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