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California puts together strategic plan to fight Huanglongbing

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The California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee is trying to get ahead of the fast-moving Huanglongbing.To evaluate and improve its strategies for fighting the progression of Huanglongbing (otherwise known as citrus greening), the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee recently developed a strategic plan with five key priorities to guide its focus.

The committee – established in 2010 to advise the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious pests and diseases that threaten California’s citrus crop – completed the extensive strategic planning process in February. The effort was shepherded by a strategic planning team consisting of CPDPC members, members of the scientific/research community, representatives of Citrus Research Board and California Citrus Mutual, and others.

The plan identified five prioritized strategies to achieve CPDPP’s goals of keeping Huanglongbing (HLB) out of commercial groves, limiting Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) movement, and fine-tuning the program. In addition, the CPDPP agreed to align its annual budget in support the priorities below. The program and its subcommittees will work together to execute the following:

  1. Quickly detect and eradicate diseased trees by improving the urban survey and sampling processes, continuing quick mandatory tree removal of infected trees, and collaborating with the scientific community on early detection efforts.
  2. Control movement of psyllids around the state and enforce regulations by increasing enforcement staff with emphasis in HLB quarantine areas and implementing a regional ACP quarantine with performance standards.
  3. Suppress psyllid populations by promoting grower participation in area-wide treatment programs, removing uncared for host plants, continuing to using biocontrol and continually assessing urban treatment protocol.
  4. Improve data technology, analysis and sharing and explore new solutions for digitization of data, including Pesticide Usage Reports.
  5. Use outreach and collaboration to encourage homeowner and industry participation in program efforts, and foster local governments’ support for program activities.

The process, facilitated by Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations, involved multiple touch points along the way where members of the industry could weigh in, including one-on-one interviews with key individuals and an industry wide electronic survey designed to identify threats and opportunities facing the industry, along with strengths and weaknesses of the program and potential strategies for the future.

“Our efforts to limit the spread of HLB in California have been impactful, but the issue is fast moving, and the committee recognized a need to be more thoughtful, strategic, and efficient as we plan for the future,” said Nick Condos, interim director of the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP). “These five main strategies will help guide our decision making and resource allocation moving forward, while providing guideposts for continual improvement.”

“It is critical this plan be ingrained in our work for the program in order to remain focused on our goals,” said Jim Gorden, CPDPC chairman. “This plan will not collect dust on a shelf, and I’m confident committee and industry members will see the influence of this plan in our meetings and in the sub-committees’ work as activities align to support the goals outlined in the plan.”

Tags: citrus greening, California, agriculture news, farm news
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