California’s battle against the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) just received a $2 million shot in the arm from the federal government.
The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through omnibus spending Congress approved. The full amount will be disbursed to California counties in the San Joaquin Valley and along the Central Coast to increase trapping efforts, according to Alyssa Houtby, communications director with California Citrus Mutual (CCM).
This is over-and-above the estimated $25 million the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) receives each year for disease prevention programs, Houtby said.
Of that funding about $15 million comes from a mandatory nine-cent per carton assessment of citrus growers, she said. An additional $10 million is sent to the program from the USDA. Currently no state funding is spent on the program.
The goal is to keep psyllid traps in commercial groves and on residential citrus year-round with regular inspections of the traps. Houtby said traps are typically pulled in the winter months because of funding issues.
CCM is currently working with California Sen. Richard D. Roth, D-Riverside, on legislation to increase the mandatory assessment to 12 cents. Included in the bill is a request for an additional $5 million from the state General Fund for the state’s citrus program.
The $5 million request is a second attempt by the California citrus industry to augment citrus disease and prevention program funding. Legislation was introduced in 2013 and sailed through both sides of the state legislature with unanimous support before being vetoed by Gov. Edmund Brown, Jr.