Today California Citrus Mutual Vice Chairman, Keith Watkins (pictured center) testified at the Farm Bill Hearing held at Fresno State University. Watkins voiced industry concerns about HLB and highlighted the need for continued Farm Bill funding to fight the disease.
During the hearing Watkins spoke of the devastating impact HLB had on the Florida citrus industry, illustrating the vital need to keep HLB out of commercial groves in California. He also praised the California citrus industry’s diligent work to prevent the movement of Asian Citrus Psyllids (ACP), from one quarantine area to another through the work of the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee, the citrus division of CDFA and a number of industry members and partners.
“A vital part of the fight against HLB comes through the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill has supported the Citrus Disease Subcommittee and dedicated $25 million per year to the USDA-NIFA to bring top researchers across the country to find a cure,” said Watkins during the hearing.
“On behalf of the California citrus industry, I respectfully request that funding for this important program be continued in the upcoming Farm Bill. We desperately need a cure, which is the focus of the NIFA funding and the ultimate solution that can restore the lost production and maintain the competitiveness of the U.S. citrus industry,” said Watkins.
The session was hosted and chaired by House Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Jim Costa of California. These listening sessions allow House Agriculture Committee Members to gather input from producers and consumers across the country so that improvements can be made in the 2023 Farm Bill.
We would like to thank Mr. Watkins for taking the time to testify on behalf of the industry on this important issue.
You can watch a video of the testimony on our Facebook page here.
Articles are property of CCM; please seek permission from CCM for the use of articles and content in any way.