Citrus Growers Speak Up at Farm Bill Meeting

Josh McGillFarm Bill, Legislative

Citrus growers discussed their challenges and voiced their needs during a farm bill listening session held April 24 in Newberry, Florida. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, along with bipartisan members, including Rep. Kat Cammack (FL-03), Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09), Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), listened to …

Aid for Growers Transitioning to Organic Production

Tacy Calliesfinancial, Organic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced details of a $75 million investment in conservation assistance for growers transitioning to organic production. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will dedicate financial and technical assistance to a new organic management standard and partner with new organic technical experts to increase staff capacity and expertise. The effort is part of the multi-agency …

Growers Press Legislators for Hurricane Relief

Tacy Callieshurricane, Legislative

Hurricane recovery assistance was top of mind when citrus growers met with U.S. Sen. Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin April 11 in Highlands County. “The primary topic of conversation during the roundtable was encouraging Sen. Scott and Congressman Franklin to do everything in their power to get the Block Grant Assistance Act passed through Congress as quickly as …

Grants Available to Growers for Energy Projects

Josh McGillAgriculture, Industry News Release

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for $1 billion in grants to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses invest in renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. USDA is making the grants available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. “Supporting renewable energy and energy-saving systems helps the people of …

Growers Learn About Citrus Roots

Josh McGillRoot health

Florida researcher Ute Albrecht shared information about citrus tree roots at the recent Georgia Citrus Association annual conference. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) associate professor specializing in plant physiology discussed rootstocks and soils, suggested transplanting tips and touched briefly on freeze tolerance. Albrecht works at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in …

Should Florida Growers Be Worried About Lime Swallowtail?

Josh McGillPests, Tip of the Week

By Lauren Diepenbrock Recently, several articles have highlighted a potential new threat to the citrus industry in Florida, the lime swallowtail. While it is true that this pest has been found in residential citrus plantings in Key West, it is unlikely that lime swallowtail will have much of an impact, if any, on Florida’s commercial citrus industry. Lime swallowtail is …

Senator Talks to Growers and Acts on H-2A

Josh McGillLabor

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) recently spoke to South Georgia citrus growers in Ochlocknee about their needs and introduced legislation to reduce a wage-rate increase in the H-2A guestworker program. The industry’s needs include shoring-up supply chains, expanding facilities to keep up with growing demand, and strengthening research on diseases and pests that pose a unique threat to citrus. “I’m …

Citrus Institute: One-Stop Learning Opportunity for Growers

Josh McGillEducation, Events, Tip of the Week

By Ruth Borger Keeping up with the latest news and research findings that impact how growers can successfully produce citrus in the HLB era can be an overwhelming task. Tracking down the right information at the right time for the changing conditions that face citrus growers takes time, effort and persistence. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences …

Lessons From Hurricane Ian Will Help Growers

Josh McGillhurricane, Survey

Researchers will assess 20 to 30 Florida citrus groves impacted by 2022’s Hurricane Ian to learn lessons that will help growers in the future. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers Christopher Vincent and Tripti Vashisth and their teams will conduct the assessment. The research will be funded by a $280,000, one-year grant from the U.S. …

irrigation

Irrigation Guidelines for Growers

Josh McGillIrrigation, Tip of the Week

By Ajia Paolillo As the season moves from winter to spring, the irrigation requirements of citrus trees change. Typically, February through May is the drier time of year in Florida with low rainfall amounts in most areas. However, during this period, the trees are actively producing leaves and flowers, setting fruit, and pumping resources to the growing fruit during cell …

texas citrus

Florida Growers to Vote on Marketing Order Amendments

Josh McGillMarketing, Regulation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will conduct a referendum April 3–May 1 on proposed amendments to the federal marketing order regulating the handling of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and pummelos grown in Florida. Notice of the referendum was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2023. The proposed amendments would include reducing the size and quorum requirements of the …

freeze

Cold-Hardy Growers Face Tough Call With Possible Freeze

Josh McGillCold Hardy, freeze

Looming below-freezing temperatures in the cold-hardy citrus region have growers on high alert regarding their remaining crop. Forecasts call for temperatures to drop to the 20s in Tifton, Georgia, on Dec. 23, according to Weather.com. Growers will have to decide on how to handle their remaining fruit, said Kim Jones, citrus producer and packinghouse owner. Jones is president of the …

Guide Prepares California Growers for HLB Detection

Josh McGillCalifornia Corner, HLB Management, Regulation

California’s Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) has developed a guide, Response for a Confirmed Huanglongbing Positive Detection in a Commercial Grove, to prepare growers for a finding of the disease. The guide is intended to educate growers about the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) huanglongbing action plan. The devastating citrus disease spread by the Asian citrus …

Citrus Growers Get Update on Trunk Injection

Josh McGillHLB Management

The Gulf Citrus Growers Association (GCGA) hosted a luncheon on Dec. 7 at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center featuring a presentation by Tom Johnson, chief executive officer of TJ BioTech. The company is the manufacturer of ReMedium TI, the widely discussed formulation of oxytetracycline hydrochloride (OTC-HCI) that has shown promise as a treatment for HLB. The product is …

citrus production

Research to Help Organic Growers Fight HLB

Josh McGillOrganic, Research

A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) is intended to advance research to help organic citrus producers fight HLB.   The grant awards $2.03 million to a team of scientists from the University of Florida, Texas A&M University and The Organic Center. The Organic Center is a non-profit organization convening evidence-based science on the …

Growers and Researcher Discuss Millennium Block Trials

Josh McGillResearch, Rootstocks, Varieties

Two citrus growers recently explained the benefits to be gained from research at the Indian River Research and Education Center’s (IRREC) Millennium Block in Fort Pierce, and a scientist discussed a grapefruit study there. The IRREC is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) facility. The 20-acre block was planted in 2019 to help growers find …

Citrus Breeder: Growers Need to Think More Out of the Box

Tacy CalliesCold Hardy

If cold-hardy citrus growers diversified their crops and not put all of their eggs in the satsuma basket, it would provide them a better chance at long-term sustainability. It would allow producers an opportunity to combat the negative national stigma concerning citrus juices, says Jude Grosser, a professor of plant cell genetics at the University of Florida Institute of Food …

PIECES OF THE PAST: Growers Recall the Way It Used To Be

Tacy CalliesPieces of the Past

By Brenda Eubanks Burnette It’s hard to imagine how the early pioneers managed to grow, pick, pack and ship their fruit without the technological means we have today. In doing various oral history interviews this year, that point was really brought home to me. One grower recalled how irrigating his family’s grove meant moving the actual water pipes manually from …

Satsuma Overload: Citrus Growers Need to Diversify

Josh McGillCold Hardy, Varieties

Citrus harvest season is in full swing across the North Florida/South Georgia production region. One thing is certain this season: Growers need to diversify their farming operations with citrus varieties other than satsuma mandarins. Grower Kim Jones, who also owns a citrus packing facility in Monticello, Florida, and is part-owner of a similar facility in Tifton, Georgia, discussed the high …

Peel Protection Key for Citrus Growers

Josh McGillCold Hardy, Fresh

Citrus growers producing for the fresh market should always ensure their fruit’s peel remains unblemished and without defect. This will protect the fruit against infection and consumers choosing not to purchase the fruit. Mark Ritenour, professor of postharvest technology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, spoke during the recent Cold-Hardy Citrus Field Day at the …