California extends citrus pest program for another 4 years

07/30/2013 02:44:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Asian citrus psyllidThe Asian citrus psyllid can carry the citrus greening bacterium, which is deadly to citrus trees but harmless to humans.After several public hearings and a comment period, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has extended the state Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program for another four years.

The program, approved by the Legislature in 2009, establishes a system for citrus producers to assess themselves to raise money to fight crop threats, according to a news release.

This year, it is expected to generate $15 million.

Much of the funding will be used to help fight the Asian citrus psyllid, which has been found in nine California counties, and the citrus greening disease that it may carry.

The bacterial disease, which is harmless to humans, has been found in one tree in Los Angeles County.

In Florida where the psyllid and greening, also known as huanglongbing, is endemic, the disease has forced citrus producers to replant millions of dead or dying trees. There is no known cure.

Under the enabling legislation, Assembly Bill 281, the Callifonria program must be reviewed every four years.

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