Bayer contributes funds to fight citrus greening

09/24/2013 07:45:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Doug OhlemeierRob Schrick (from left), horticulture business lead for Bayer CropScience, Lisa Lochridge, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s director of public affairs, Alan Ayers, Bayer’s director of stakeholder relations, and Harold Browning, director of the Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, present a check for citrus greening research. On Sept. 23, Bayer contributed $200,000 to Florida citrus industry efforts to fight citrus greening. AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. —Bayer CropScience is giving a boost to fight citrus greening in Florida.

The Research Triangle, N.C.-based Bayer is pledging to contribute $200,000 to industry efforts to find a cure for citrus greening, also known as huanglongbing or HLB.

Part of a three-year program, Bayer awarded the grant to Florida Citrus Research and Development Foundation Inc., Lake Alfred, to be administered through Maitland-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s Florida Specialty Crop Foundation.

In the first year of the grant, Bayer is directing money to support existing research on HLB and the Asian citrus psyllid, the insect which spreads the disease.

During the other years, Bayer and its partners plan to work with the industry to determine how the funding will be spent, according to Bayer officials.

“The sales reps working for Bayer in Florida are a part of the community and are partners in the citrus industry,” said Rob Schrick, a Bayer horticulture business lead. “Their customers are also their friends. They understand what’s going on.

“If we don’t focus on this and find a cure, we won’t have a business to worry about,” he said. “That strikes home. That’s the reason we’re here tonight.”

Bayer released news of the grant Sept. 23, during FFVA’s annual convention.

“Bayer is dedicated to providing innovative solutions for the food chain,” Sonia Tighe, the foundation’s executive director, said in a news release. “We are honored that Bayer continues to partner with our foundation to meet the needs of growers and the citrus industry.”

To date, greening has caused an estimated $4.5 billion in losses to Florida’s citrus crops.

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