Citrus board gets $3.4M to ‘CRaFT’ new solutions to citrus greening

The Citrus Research Board receives award from the Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination Group to support its California focused Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRaFT)

VISALIA – News of the Asian citrus psyllid has been sparse since the pandemic began, but the Citrus Research Board has some good news to share. Last week they were awarded $3.4 million for more citrus greening research.

The Citrus Research Board (CRB) was awarded $3,438,059 in funding from the Huanglongbing (HLB) Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAC) to support its California-focused Citrus Research and Field Trials (CRaFT).

The overarching goal of the CRaFT project is to demonstrate additional mitigations to improve psyllid control within commercial citrus groves across the various citrus growing regions in California. This information will inform areawide control efforts and demonstrate the benefits of control mitigation measures currently available to growers for regional, state and national benefit. This project aims to demonstrate reduced psyllid levels (through trap, tap, and visual monitoring) within treated groves as a year-by-year measurement and relative to the regional psyllid levels.

“We are excited to develop the first CRaFT project for citrus in California, as this project will bring new energy to the fight against HLB and benefit growers across the state while investing in vital research,” CRB president Marcy L. Martin said.

A group of 10 industry members will steer the project through the CRaFT technical advisory committee (TAC) in conjunction with the CRB. This combined group will work with industry personnel to recruit growers in various regions to implement innovative psyllid management strategies. Growers who apply and are selected will receive reimbursement for costs associated with participation in the program.

The project will be administered over two years by the CRB, with the intent to renew. Efforts in year one will include creating a foundation for the program while conducting trap-based monitoring. Data from these measures will be collected and summarized to demonstrate changes in psyllid populations from resulting mitigation measures. Semiannual grower meetings and quarterly CRaFT TAC meetings will be initiated to review project progress and identify any potential project issues.

Year two will expand on previous efforts to provide data demonstrating changes in psyllid populations from applied mitigation measures. Findings will be summarized and shared with industry members to promote effective treatments.

The HLB MAC group was established as an emergency response framework to better position the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to coordinate the citrus industry’s immediate and long-term needs in dealing with HLB. HLB MAC funds projects to drive innovative solution-oriented research while delivering effective and practical tools to growers.

In addition to funding for the California Focused CRaFT project, other programs awarded funding for FY2021 include $4,061,941 to Texas (CRaFT project), and $676,665 to USDA Agricultural Research Service (expand data management tools to support these projects).

For more information about the California Focused CRaFT Project and HLB MAC, visit www.citrusresearch.org.

The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the state’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.

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