Dear California Citrus Industry,
As we look back on the last fiscal year, it’s clear the battle in protecting California’s citrus from the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and Huanglongbing (HLB) is one best fought as a collaborative effort involving local, county, state and federal officials, researchers, scientists and commercial citrus growers. The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program’s (CPDPP) charge is to work on behalf of the interests of California citrus growers, packers, haulers, nurseries, pest control advisors and all other industry stakeholders, but that effort is only successful due to the commendable efforts put forth by industry members and program partners throughout the year.
Our state’s commercial citrus groves have continued to remain free from the devastation caused by HLB and that result is only possible through the continued collaboration and partnerships of the citrus industry. But this doesn’t mean we can take our foot off the gas. Some startling statistics have come to light from our counterparts in Florida, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Since 2004, the annual production of Florida grapefruit has declined by 92% and tangerine production is down 89%, largely due in part to the impacts caused by HLB. While there are many differences between California and Florida’s circumstances, this should be a clear warning signal to growers everywhere about the long-term impacts HLB can have if we let it take hold.
The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) is no stranger to facing threats to our citrus crop head on – including efforts against the Sweet Orange Scab. While work in preventing the spread of the ACP and HLB have and will continue to remain among the most urgent issues we face here in California, the CPDPD – with guidance from the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee (CPDPC) – is responsible for keeping a finger on the pulse of California’s citrus industry and coordinating efforts to combat any and all serious pests and diseases that threaten the State’s citrus crops. And, over the past year, that declaration was put into action.
In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed a positive identification of Citrus yellow vein clearing virus (CYVCV) after being detected during a California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) routine multi-pest survey. As a result of the detection, CDFA staff sprang into action, and began surveying and sampling work in the surrounding area. While this was the first detection of CYVCV in the United States, the CPDPD staff was swift in adopting new protocols due to CDFA’s robust pest prevention system that focuses on exclusion and monitoring. This, coupled with USDA’s experience responding to other vectored disease threats, was critical preparing CPDPD staff as they tackled this threat head on.
Earlier that Spring, USDA notified CDFA that four residential properties in the state had ordered citrus nursery stock from an out-of-state nursery that had a confirmed presence of citrus canker. CDFA staff moved quickly on tracking the purchases and successfully verified the orders were either not filled, or if they were filled, CPDPD staff removed and destroyed the trees. In addition to surveying and sampling all host plants on these properties, staff conducted a 1-mile delimitation survey for citrus canker around each site and sampled all host trees for citrus canker, all samples were negative. These swift actions by USDA and CDFA are focused on protecting the citrus industry, as well as nurseries and other establishments that sell citrus plants wholesale and direct to consumers.
It’s no secret growers across the state are facing a challenging climate. With water supply issues and labor shortages, we recognize the various pressures that businesses are up against. We commend the efforts of those who have stayed involved and informed through area-wide treatment efforts, participation in program-sponsored events and staying informed on the latest news and information being shared across the state, to ensure we can continue to have a prosperous industry here in California.
As your partner in this effort, this report highlights the ways in which the CPDPP has continued to fight on your behalf, through innovative thinking, program efficiencies and an ongoing commitment to exercise good stewardship of the dollars entrusted to us.
Victoria Hornbaker, Director, Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division, California Department of Food and Agriculture
Mark McBroom, Chair, Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee
Looking to the Future: Adopting New Thinking in Protecting California Citrus
CPDPP Science Advisory Panel 2022
Over the past fiscal year, the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee (CPDPC) recognized a need to dive into the scientific substantiation of the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program. Since the first Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) was confirmed in California in 2008 and the first Huanglongbing (HLB) detection was confirmed in 2012, much has changed in our scientific understanding and progression of the pest and disease. To ensure the program’s activities were based on the best information available, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, with support from the CPDPC, established a group of panelists – all of whom have strong scientific backgrounds – to answer a list of questions posed By the CPDPC to review current program activities.
The questions were set to evaluate fficacy and efficiency, validate current program activities that are still appropriate and recommend improvements where needed. The final report was presented and accepted by the CPDPC in September 2022.
In the years to come, the CPDPC will be working in collaboration with the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division and other partners to explore the potential implementation of each of the recommendations produced by the Science Advisory Panel. The full Science Advisory Panel report is available to read on CDFA’s website.
By The Numbers
During FY 22-23, the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program used its funds to support its strategic priorities and fight HLB on multiple fronts.
On The Ground
Number of residential citrus trees confirmed HLB+ and removed:
Number of residential properties surveyed for the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing:
Number of ACP sticky traps sites deployed throughout the state:
In the Lab
Number of citrus plant samples tested for HLB:
Number of ACP samples tested for CLas:
Number of biocontrol agents released in 15 regions throughout California and surrounding areas:
Expenditures by strategic priority*
*Expenditures reported as of March 2021
Strategic Priority #1
Quickly Detect and
Eradicate Disease Trees:
Strategic Priority #2
Control Movement of Psyllids Around the State; Enforce Regulations:
Strategic Priority #3
Suppress Asian Citrus
Strategic Priority #4
Improve Data Technology,
Analysis and Sharing:
Strategic Priority #5
Revenues by source
Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee
The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee advises the California Secretary of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the agricultural industry on efforts to combat ACP, HLB and other invasive pests and diseases. To guide decision making, four subcommittees comprised of stakeholders and subject-matter experts, evaluate various aspects of the program. Some key milestones include the following.
Bob Felts Jr., Finance Subcommittee Chairman and Owner of Felts Farm
The finance subcommittee continues to seek greater operating and reporting efficiencies with a commitment to ensure program funding is utilized wisely and judiciously on behalf of the California citrus industry. By continuously pushing for timely and accurate expenditure reporting from Financial Services (FI$CAL), the California state financial management system, the finance subcommittee works to determine precise grower assessment levels. These valuable financial contributions to the overall program are vital in gaining additional monetary support from the State and Federal government to help protect the California citrus industry. In addition, data collection has been integral in measuring and assessing program efficiencies over time, which is critical as we fight the spread of Huanglongbing (HLB) in Southern California’s urban areas. More details on budgets and expenditures overseen by the finance subcommittee can be found in this report.
John C. Gless, Operations Subcommittee Chairman and Southern
With a strategic eye toward mapping and analyzing the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and Huanglongbing (HLB), the operations subcommittee works diligently to make informed recommendations on how to effectively and efficiently limit the spread of the pest and deadly citrus disease. This year’s focus included an emphasis on regulatory activities, including monitoring fruit and nursery stock movement, fruit sellers and deployment of appropriate mitigation methods. Additionally, the operations subcommittee strengthened the program’s partnerships with California County Agricultural Commissioners to gain further insight into where regulatory violations are occurring, the source and movement of bulk citrus, and the quality of how citrus is being handled. The collective efforts of the operations subcommittee help direct resources to efficiently protect California citrus for years to come.
Kevin Ball, Outreach Subcommittee Chairman, Vice President of Orchard
Operations, Partner, Ag Land Services
The outreach subcommittee reimagined ways to connect with our diverse target audiences across the state. Creative deployment of online and social media “influencers” paved the way for reaching homeowners with shared interests and hobbies involving gardening and growing citrus at home, all reinforced by the program’s newly established Instagram account.
In the spring, the outreach subcommittee capitalized on National Garden Month by executing a multi-channel, multi-regional outreach campaign, securing more than 220 million estimated touchpoints throughout the state, leveraging paid, earned and social media strategies in multiple languages to educate residents on the ACP and HLB. To further equip industry members with resources to combat ACP and HLB, proactive measures were taken to draft and distribute a commercial HLB detection response guide, developed to prepare industry stakeholders with an outline of necessary steps and actions for this scenario. Lastly, CPDPP’s outreach team engaged with target audiences face-to-face as we continue to share vital program information at in-person community festivals, elected official conferences and agricultural trade shows. The outreach subcommittee continues to focus on targeting program communications, as the ACP and HLB span both agricultural and urban areas throughout the state.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Etienne Rabe, Committee Vice Chair, Science and Technology Subcommittee Chairman and Vice President of Horticulture for Wonderful Citrus
Taking a major step forward in securing efficiencies within the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP), the science and technology subcommittee was instrumental in the development of various questions for the Science Advisory Panel (SAP) what was assembled at the request of Secretary Ross. Comprised of external researchers and experts from various institutions from across the country, the SAP convened to provide a critical analysis of the program overall. More details about the SAP process can be found on page X of this report. The science and technology subcommittee identified potential areas of duplication between program entities, as well as potential areas of possible inefficient use of program resources. The CPDPP full committee continues to discuss report recommendations, including allocating responsibilities and determining timelines, building a strong foundation for implementation in the years to come. Other emerging issues remain in focus for the science and technology subcommittee as we continue to monitor alongside the California Citrus Quality Council (CCQC) for updates surrounding uses of truck fumigation methods for citrus movement between ACP and HLB quarantine zones. In addition, we’ll continue to update growers on the progress of the rule-making process for sweet orange scab interior quarantines as they become available to us.