How close you ask? The facility passed a final pre-certification test last week and now the California Citrus Research Foundation (CCRF) awaits confirmation from USDA as to when they will visit, inspect, and ultimately communicate the lab is open for business. A vision started by the University of California Riverside was given life when the principle for the Wonderful Company, Stewart Resnick, agreed to a significant contribution up front and provided seed money and management until the Foundation could coordinate all activity. Industry members committed over $8 million to the project with only minor clean up activity remaining on the main facility and an auxiliary nursery tangential to the building requiring specific equipment. Foundation directors in partnership with CRB have identified a few projects that are ready to occupy the facility.
Presently, the California industry is relying upon research in other states to be completed and then tested for California citrus rootstocks and climatic conditions. With an industry-owned BSL3 facility, projects that may provide an opportunity for an HLB cure can be tested within the state. Construction was delayed and came in over budget but the light at the end of the tunnel burns bright! More to come!