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To Those who Support Citrus Health: Thank you

November 21, 2014

 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry is pleased to pass along this Thanksgiving message posted by Abby Yigzaw, Public Affairs Specialist, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

If you have not tried a citrus and herb turkey yet, I highly recommend it!

Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest, shared recipes and a good time to reflect upon all of the things for which we are thankful. We are thankful for the continued citrus harvest and the collaborative efforts underway to protect citrus in the United States. Save Our Citrus is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about citrus diseases and how to prevent their spread. It relies on a combined effort at the national, state and local level.

America’s citrus is under attack by citrus diseases including citrus greening (Huanglongbing or HLB), citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab. If these diseases spread out of control, the result would be completely detrimental to our citrus. We’re thankful that this has not become a reality, and hope it never will.

The first Thanksgiving, centuries ago, was about working together to deliver and share the bounty. While the United States is undoubtedly fighting a serious battle against citrus diseases, we still have a lot to be thankful for. We’re thankful for our bountiful harvest of citrus that remains healthy and marketable. The citrus utilized production for the 2012-2013 season totaled 11.2 million tons. We’re also thankful for the federal, state and local efforts that are just a few of the critical components to the overall goal of citrus health.

Railroad&OrangeGroveAt the federal level, we’re grateful for the efforts of the Huanglongbing (HLB) Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group. The HLB MAC was established in December 2013 by USDA Secretary Vilsack in response to the citrus industry’s request for more urgency and greater coordination regarding HLB disease.  Members of the MAC include a variety of state and federal agencies working towards the common goal of improving strategy development, policymaking and resource allocations, to ensure that funds are invested where they can have the greatest impact on combatting HLB.

On the state level, we’re thankful to the state departments of agriculture, universities and other organizations that serve an integral role in spreading messages about citrus disease prevention. The Save Our Citrus campaign is strengthened through the opportunity to coordinate with States and combine resources effectively to maximize outreach efforts.

On a local level, residential citrus tree owners have made a huge contribution to preventing the spread of citrus disease. By using the free Save Our Citrus iPhone app, tree owners have helped positively identify citrus disease. The app users can upload pictures of suspected citrus diseased trees and receive a response back from citrus experts. Hundreds of submissions are received each year from across the country. Through these submissions, confirmed cases of citrus disease have been detected.

Thanks to citrus disease prevention efforts, we’re still able to have a bountiful harvest of citrus in the United States. We appreciate you supporting the efforts of the Save Our Citrus campaign. With your help, citrus is something that we can be thankful for throughout many generations to come. To learn more about the Save Our Citrus campaign, visit http://www.saveourcitrus.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  And don’t forget to look up a citrus and herb turkey recipe!

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