CCM’s Casey Creamer and Alyssa Houtby were recently in Washington, D.C. to meet with leadership at USDA, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and members of Congress on various issues impacting the U.S. citrus industry. Creamer and Houtby were joined by representatives from Florida and Texas Citrus Mutual. The group collectively advocated for important funding for HLB research and prevention programs.
In advance of the trip, the three citrus states worked together to secure funding in the House Appropriations Bill for the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP) and the HLB MAC program in the 2023 budget. The funding has since been included in the Senate Appropriations bill as well.
The group also took the opportunity to show a united front to members and staff of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee’s and discuss the industry’s priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill. Both Chambers are currently in the process of collecting stakeholder input as they craft the next Farm Bill. For the citrus industry, the Farm Bill has been an important source of funding for HLB research. Together, California, Texas, and Florida are advocating for continuation of the $25 million per year program that was started in the 2013 Farm Bill.
The group also met with USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) Deputy Administrator for Plant Protection and Quarantine Mark Davidson and Executive Director Samantha Simon about the CHRP and MAC programs as well as the newly discovered citrus disease Citrus Yellow Vein Clearing Virus (CYVCV), and the status of various import and export access requests. Additionally, the group met with the Agriculture Marketing Service Administrator, Bruce Summers and Deputy Administrator for the Specialty Crop Program, Heather Pichelman.
Overall, the trip was an excellent demonstration by the U.S. citrus industry of unity on the industry’s greatest federal policy priorities.
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