The following is an excerpt of a story on WFSU.com (Tallahassee Public Radio) on new genetic research into citrus greening.
A small bacterium is ravaging Florida’s citrus industry, killing thousands of trees and forcing many growers out of business. The crisis is spurring state regulators to invest in genetically engineered trees that are disease resistant. Researchers are beginning to see positive results, though it may take a few years for crop yields to catch up. That’s according to Republican Ben Albritton, a state representative and fourth generation citrus grower.
“We’re putting trees in the ground now that are showing signs of resistance. Which means, instead of it really collapsing the tree over a three, four, five, six year period, it gives a much longer lifespan to the tree,” Albritton said.
Albritton says the investment in research, instead of marketing, is beginning to pay off.
“Been some difficult times, but many of us in the industry believe we’re at the bottom of the curve, and that we’re heading in a good direction,” he said.
In 2016, state lawmakers allocated $8 million for citrus research, and this year they’re considering asking for more.
Click here to listen to the entire story.