There have been quite a few big things happening in Agriculture recently. The long awaited Farm Bill passed by Congress cuts total agricultural spending by 15 percent. According to an update from Highlands Today, in terms of practical benefits, Florida fared particularly well, according to key industry leaders.
While there have been cuts in spending for Agriculture the new bill increased funding for programs that are important to Florida’s fruit and vegetables producers. We’ve covered the citrus greening issue in Florida in our blog and on our social media channels over the past few weeks. Good news from the bill is funding of $125 million has been allocated to the specialty crop research initiative (SRIC) that is specifically dedicated to citrus greening research.
Recently, the Associated Press reported that the citrus greening issue is making national headlines and Federal agriculture officials are joining Florida’s battle. The article, published on December 12, reported The U.S. Department of Agriculture is creating an “emergency response framework” to battle citrus greening. The funding from the bill is undoubtedly in response to this critical issue.
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.
Other news in Agriculture includes the upcoming luncheon in honor of Lynetta Griner as Florida’s Woman of the Year in Agriculture. This makes her the first woman from Levy County to earn this title. Twenty-four-years ago, Griner came back to her family’s logging company, Usher Land and Timber, and has been there ever since. She is the first female president of the Florida Forestry Association and has started many organizations and charities in her community.