Since it was first discovered in the United States in 2005, the bacterial disease known as citrus greening, or Huanglongbing, has devastated millions of acres of citrus crops throughout this country and abroad, ravaging citrus groves in Asia, Africa and South America.
Citrus greening has impacted conventional and organic growers alike, but its injury to organic growers has been especially deep because most of the efforts underway to keep the deadly disease in check involve methods that are prohibited in organic produce production. In addition, the research and work that have been done on organic-compliant ways to fight citrus greening have usually been conducted in non-organic settings and in combination with treatments prohibited by the organic standards, resulting in critical information not easily accessible to organic farmers and educators.
The Organic Center is currently working with the University of Florida, the University of California, Riverside, and several citrus growers and industry members to conduct a national review of how citrus greening disease is impacting organic growers and other industry members. We will use the information to develop a large-scale holistic research project proposal targeted toward protecting organic citrus growers from citrus greening, slowing the spread, and reducing damage to currently infected groves. We presented a webinar on the disease and our work tackling it that you can view on-demand here.