The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services urges citrus growers to participate in the Citrus Health Management Areas (CHMA) initiative, a program led by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS), in partnership with the citrus industry and the Department, to slow the spread of citrus greening disease (Huanglongbing or HLB).

“Since its arrival in Florida in 2005, citrus greening has presented enormous challenges to Florida’s citrus industry,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Working closely with our partners and Florida’s citrus growers, the Department is fighting hard to maintain Florida’s ranking as a world leader in citrus production, but there is still much to be done.”

The CHMA initiative encourages neighboring citrus growers to coordinate efforts to control and minimize the movement of the Asian citrus psyllid, the vector of citrus greening disease.

Participants in a CHMA coordinate psyllid control sprays to minimize the movement of psyllids between groves.

The CHMA initiative is one component of the Department’s Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP), a cooperative effort between the Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

CHRP provides protection at every level of citrus production by ensuring clean nursery stock, surveying all commercial citrus acreage, certifying fresh fruit, providing a reliable source of virus-free, high-quality budwood and working to ensure all of Florida’s trading partners meet state and national requirements to sustain the economic viability of the citrus industry.

Greg Carlton, bureau chief of pest eradication and control in the Division of Plant Industry, will lead the Department’s efforts in controlling citrus pests and diseases, with specific focus on the Asian citrus psyllid and the development and coordination of CHMAs.

For more information about the CHRP, visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/chrp/greening/citrusgreening.html.

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit http://www.FreshFromFlorida.com.