Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is voicing his support of the new Farm Bill. He also recognized Congressman Steve Southerland who helped ensure that Florida’s $100 billion industry is protected in the Farm Bill. 

Putnam said, “The 2014 farm bill includes critical funding for the industry that provides our nation with a safe and wholesome food supply, as well as much-needed reforms of entitlement programs and regulatory relief for businesses.”

One of the most important measures covered in the Farm Bill is $125 million to support citrus greening research.  The citrus industry makes up Florida’s key agriculture products and could have a significant economic impact.  The disease has cost Florida’s citrus fruit industry millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

Citrus greening is a bacteria that is spread by insects and causes trees to produce green, disfigured, and bitter fruit. The bacteria eventually kills the tree and can devastate a grove.  Florida’s citrus industry is a $9 billion a year industry. It is estimated 69 million trees have been affected, which makes up 75 percent of the total trees.

New discoveries have been made. The Grower published an article recently sharing that researchers now know the problem begins in the root system of the tree long before above ground symptoms are showing.   Researchers now believe that by knowing this, they can focus squarely on root health.

We will continue to keep you posted and please reach out with your opinion in the comments.