Florida congressmen discuss citrus greening efforts

02/18/2014 09:12:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Courtesy USDA-ARSTwo south Florida congressmen have started a caucus on citrus greening disease.

Rep. Tom Rooney, R- Fla., and Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., sponsored a news conference at an area grove on Feb. 14 to talk about what they’re doing at the federal level to fight the disease, according to a Feb. 15 article in the Palm Beach Post.

At the Ter Marsch Groves in Juno Beach, Fla., the congressmen said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is trying to combat the disease through a “strike force” via $125 million. The two started a citrus greening caucus.

“We are trying to educate more members of congress and the federal government what we are dealing with down here,” Murphy said in the article. “Pretty soon, the citrus industry, if we don’t do something and solve this, it’ll be gone. We’ve already lost thousands of jobs and $4.5 billion in the citrus industry and we can’t let it go any further or else businesses like the one behind us are going to have a really hard time staying open.”

The congressmen also visited the USDA’s horticultural research laboratory in Fort Pierce, Fla.

“These scientists really do believe that they’re close” to a cure, Rooney said in the Post.

Grower Ter Marsch, who runs a produce stand, said it’s difficult to keep his store stocked with fruit.

“The supply is killing us and the quality of the fruit has gone down because of greening,’’ he said in the Post article.

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