Citrus task force pursues citrus greening solutions

citrusLast week, OTA’s organic citrus producers and one certifying agent, together representing Texas, California, and Florida, met with representatives from the National Organic Program (NOP), USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS), and the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) to discuss citrus greening and its impact on the organic sector. The meeting was an excellent starting point and the willingness on behalf of APHIS to meet with us demonstrated its dedication to this critical issue. As emphasized in our meeting, the management techniques being used by organic growers are proving to be very effective, and offer a tremendous opportunity for citrus growers, both organic and conventional alike. Review and support from APHIS would be significant, and would provide critical support to growers everywhere. Moving forward, OTA’s Task Force will continue to engage researchers, APHIS, NOP, and other federal and state officials, and work to gain acceptance of organic protocols nationwide. While this issue now is specific to citrus, we expect our work will set an important precedent for future issues that arise as a result of invasive pest pressure & mandatory spray programs.

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