The Federal Omnibus agreement that was signed over the holidays continued funding programs that are vital to the citrus industry’s ongoing battle against Huanglongbing and the Asian Citrus Psyllid.
The bill provides $69.5 million for the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP). The CHRP program funding is split between citrus producing states and offsets grower assessments in California to the Citrus Pest and Disease Program. The bill also includes $8.5 million for the HLB Multi-Agency Coordination (HLB MAC). The HLB MAC supports vital research to support on the ground efforts to prevent the spread of HLB.
CCM appreciates the strong partnership with Texas and Florida Citrus Mutual as well as our congressional representatives from citrus districts for maintaining this important funding for citrus growers.
Excerpts from the Bill
Citrus Health Response Program [CHRP]—CHRP is a national effort to maintain a viable citrus industry within the United States, maintain producers’ continued access to export markets, and safeguard citrus producing States against a variety of invasive pests and diseases. These funds are designed to partner with State departments of agriculture and industry groups to address the challenges of citrus pests and diseases. In addition to the funds provided in this account, the Committee encourages APHIS to utilize the funds available in the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Programs account to the greatest extent possible to sustain the economic viability of the citrus industry.
Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination Group.—The Committee recognizes the significant economic impact of this disease on the citrus industry, which is especially acute in Florida and is a growing concern in both Texas and California. The Committee also understands that growers are requesting the right to try treatments that have begun to show success in early stages of testing. The Committee encourages the HLB–MAC group to explore and identify new methods to expedite the delivery of promising treatments directly to growers. Finally, the Committee expects that any funds which are redirected from existing HLB–MAC projects be repurposed to other priority HLB–MAC projects that are showing promising results to ensure these critical funds remain committed to facilitating the design and implementation of the rapid delivery pathway to growers.