The USDA Joins in the Fight Against Citrus Greening
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Nearly 70 percent of American households purchase orange juice for breakfast. With a population around 315 million, that’s a lot of orange juice flying off the shelves. Unfortunately, there is a devastating disease transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) called citrus greening – or HLB (huanglongbing) – that is threatening the country’s citrus industry.
This month, United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA’s commitment of more than $1.5 million to expand bio-control efforts to fight HLB. According to Vilsack, “Citrus greening poses a significant threat to the citrus industry and thousands of jobs that depend on it.” For example, according to the University of Florida, the Florida citrus market has suffered a loss of more than $4.5 billion in crops and nearly 8,300 jobs since 2006 as a result of citrus greening.
Bayer CropScience commends the USDA and Secretary Vilsack for continuing their commitment to managing, controlling and eliminating ACP and citrus greening. To eliminate HLB, the citrus industry in Florida – as well as other key markets where the citrus greening threat is growing – will need real solutions. This is a problem that requires both public and private engagement, and we appreciate the opportunity to work alongside the USDA and grower associations in the affected areas to combat and defeat citrus greening.
In fact, last September, Bayer CropScience – in collaboration with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation – created a three-year grant program to support existing and future research on citrus greening disease and ACP. With this program, Bayer awarded $200,000 to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), demonstrating our continued commitment to helping citrus growers find answers to their toughest challenges and executing on our mission of providing “Science For a Better Life”. Moving forward, we plan to continue the fight against HLB in the United States through open conversations with organizations such as California Citrus Mutual (CCM). Furthermore, Bayer CropScience is addressing the citrus greening problem on a global scale, illustrated by our five-year, €3 million (US $4 million) investment with Fundecitrus in Brazil to combat HLB.
We are committed to supporting the viability of the citrus industry by finding innovative solutions to manage citrus pests like ACP. Citrus greening is an industry problem that should not be taken lightly, and we are excited to see the generous commitment from the USDA to help solve the issue.
To learn more about citrus greening and its effects on the citrus market, visit us at www.bayercropscience.us.
About the Author:
Strategic Business Management Lead, Horticulture at Bayer CropScience
Rob is the current Strategic Business Management Lead for Bayer CropScience’s Horticulture business. Schrick graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Business Management, during which time he worked for the USDA Grain Marketing and Research Center. He was born and raised in Kansas, working for the family owned Crop Protection, Fertilizer and Custom Application business. Schrick began his professional career in 1992 as a sales representative with Rhone-Poulenc Agro, based in Willmar, Minnesota. In 1997 he moved into marketing for Aventis CropScience, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, with responsibility for herbicides. In 2004 he took an international assignment with Bayer CropScience, in Monheim Germany with accountabilities for Portfolio Management Herbicides, Seeds and Traits. Returning to the US in the fall of 2009, he took the position of Strategic Business Entity Lead for Bayer’s US Herbicides and Traits. Rob Schrick has three daughters and a wife LeaAnn of 20 years; he enjoys running, cooking and golf.