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Farm Bill includes funds for HLB program

Stabenow, Thompson prioritize citrus industry’s fight in their frameworks.

Farm Press Staff

May 10, 2024

1 Min Read
Asian citrus psyllid
The Asian citrus psyllid can carry the deadly tree disease huanglongbing.Todd Fitchette

A California citrus growers’ group is praising congressional leaders for prioritizing their industry’s fight against the deadly tree disease huanglongbing in frameworks for the upcoming Farm Bill.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., indicated recently they’ll support the Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program at $25 million per year for the life of the Farm Bill.

“This is a significant step towards reaching a bipartisan Farm Bill compromise that will continue critical research to find a cure to Huanglongbing,” said Casey Creamer, president and chief executive officer of California Citrus Mutual. “While this isn’t the finish line, it clearly signals that Congress supports maintaining citrus funding. We thank the chairs of the Committee and our California congressional delegation for championing our needs.”

The $25 million in funding will go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to fund research to find a cure for HLB. The funding is overseen by grower representatives from California, Texas, and Florida.

This is a big win for the citrus industry as there were significant headwinds with the current fiscal battles in Washington, D.C., including escalating Farm Bill baseline expenditures and competing priorities within agriculture. CCM leaders say it proves the strength of the advocacy partnership with Florida and Texas Citrus Mutuals in addition to the strong support received from allied industry organizations.

While citrus funding has clear bipartisan support, the bill’s final passage remains to be determined. Other components of the Farm Bill continue to be negotiated, and no formal vote on its passage has been scheduled and will not likely be scheduled until after the November election.

Source: California Citrus Mutual

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