Congress boosts citrus breeding efforts

Congress boosts citrus breeding efforts

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Congress boosts citrus breeding efforts

California Citrus Mutual (CCM), located in Exeter, CA, has praised U.S. Congressional support for critical federal citrus programs including the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP), the HLB Multi-Agency Coordination (HLB MAC), and an additional $1 million in federal funding for the new citrus breeding program.

In a June 15 release, CCM indicated that the House Appropriations Committee has included additional funding for citrus breeding research to develop and evaluate high-quality, superior citrus selections for use in citrus-producing regions and to evaluate rootstock and scion materials where citrus is commercially grown for the fresh fruit market. 

The California program is an expansion of the existing national USDA ARS citrus breeding program located in Florida, which is focused primarily on varieties that are optimized for growing conditions in Florida. The Florida program has resulted in new varieties with higher yields, increased disease resistance, improved color, and a longer shelf life. The Florida and California breeding programs along with the continued efforts of the University of California citrus breeding program at UC-Riverside will work together to deliver the best results for California citrus growers in the near future.

“On behalf of the industry, we are appreciative of the Committee and our Congressional leaders for their commitment to fully developing this program and look forward to finding solutions to the issues California citrus growers are faced with every day,” says CCM President and CEO Casey Creamer.

This additional funding comes after Congress provided $1 million during the current fiscal year to establish the citrus breeding program at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) field station in Parlier, CA. The new California citrus breeding program will identify new citrus varieties that are best suited for changing climatic pressures such as drought, consumer taste preferences, and resistant to pests and diseases such as HLB.

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