THE PACKER: Funds to fight citrus greening added to bill
A $50 million allocation to a federal appropriations bill would be used to fight citrus greening and other citrus diseases.
The money was added to the Fiscal Year 2016 Agricultural Appropriations bill, according to a news release from Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who helped allocate the funds.
Cuellar’s district includes part of the Rio Grande Valley, the top citrus-producing area in Texas.
The Huanglongbing Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC), a task force targeting the citrus greening crisis, would receive $6.5 million of the total.
Citrus greening has destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of citrus in Florida and also been found in Texas, California and Arizona.
“This disease has been catastrophic for citrus groves in Florida and threatens the entire industry here in Texas,” Cuellar said in the release. “These $50 million in federal funds are the highest funding level for citrus pest efforts in an appropriations bill and allow us a fighting chance to save the citrus industry in Texas, as well as the livelihoods of citrus growers all across the Rio Grande Valley.”
The balance of the $50 million would be used to fund the Citrus Health Response Program, a national program for combating citrus diseases.