Florida Citrus Mutual encourages growers to vote ‘Yes’
FROM NOW until February 11, 2016, citrus growers have the opportunity to vote on the continuation of the CRDF — the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. According to the Florida state statute, a referendum on the continuation of the CRDF must be held every six years. The last referendum held in 2009 had overwhelming support from Florida growers.
Florida Citrus Mutual petitioned state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for the referendum in 2016. Florida Citrus Mutual works on behalf of Florida growers and advocates for their benefit, lobbying in Tallahassee and gathering both state and federal research grants. Florida Citrus Mutual Director of Communications Andrew Meadows states that FCM “supports the re-authorization of CRDF, urging growers and members to vote yes to allow the CRDF to continue their pivotal efforts to beat HLB and other citrus diseases.” The CRDF is transparent for the benefit of growers and is run by growers. It serves as a conduit for research grants utilized for HLB (citrus greening) research.
The CRDF Committees, and often the Board of Directors, meet regularly at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred. To combat the HLB problem, scientists funded by the CRDF use research grants to develop HLB-tolerant rootstocks. They are also behind the push to have the bactericides streptomycin and oxytetracycline registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; these bactericides will help treat citrus trees with existing HLB infections.
Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, explains, “Although HLB continues its methodical march across Florida’s citrus belt, I have no doubt we would be worse off if it weren’t for the work of the CRDF. Not only has the CRDF made significant strides toward providing field level solutions to growers, but it also has played a major role in garnering millions of dollars to fund our industry’s massive research effort.”
Ballots must be submitted by February 11, 2016. For more information about the CRDF, visit its website at citrusrdf.org.
article by JULIE GMITTER