The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program will receive an additional $2.5 million in continuous funding from the State General Fund this year to create a dedicated citrus division at the Department of Food and Agriculture. The funding was requested by CDFA and approved by the legislature as part of the 2019 Budget Act passed last week. Governor Newsom is expected to sign the budget before the end of the month.
This new funding raises the total ongoing commitment from the State General Fund for ACP and HLB detection and suppression activities to $5 million per year.
Additionally, the budget creates 65 new staff positions at CDFA to comprise a dedicated citrus division. Currently, the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program falls under the CDFA Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services Division and shares staff with other pest prevention programs. Consequently, CPDPP activities are currently being managed and administered by staff whose primary responsibility is pest detection and emergency response for projects such as fruit fly outbreaks and other pests. As was the case in 2018 when a major Mediterranean fruit fly infestation occurred in LA County, CDFA at times redirects staff away from ACP and HLB suppression and eradication activities to address to respond to a more immediate threat. A separate division and dedicated workforce will ensure that the CDFA has sufficient resources to carry out key activities of the program without interruption. The new staff positions will include new management structure, scientists, administrative staff and experienced field staff.
In addition to the state funding, the budget also increases CDFA’s authority to spend revenues generated by the existing grower assessment by $2.5 million. This not only ensures that CDFA and the new citrus division have the ability to implement ACP/HLB program but also enables the CPDPP and the Department to adjust spending rapidly if necessary without having to request approval from the legislature.
Total Ongoing State Funding – $5 million per year
- $2.5 million authorized in FY 19
- $2.5 million authorized in FY 20 (pending signature by Governor Newsom)
Total new funding available to spend in FY 20
- $2.5 million state funds
- $2.5 million grower assessment funds (spending authority for existing fee revenue)
We appreciate the efforts by Secretary Ross, CPDPP Interim Director Victoria Hornbaker, and the CPDPP team at CDFA to secure the funding needed to appropriately respond to the rising threat of HLB.
CCM would also like to thank the Senate and Budget Subcommittees and members of the legislature for increasing the guaranteed commitment from the state budget for ACP and HLB suppression.
We look forward to working with CDFA to ensure the new citrus division is sufficiently funded in the future through state, federal, and grower assessment funding avenues.