Buchanan efforts lead to citrus greening funding in farm bill

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) recently led a bipartisan effort to include funding in the farm bill to combat citrus greening, a bacterial disease that has stricken crops in Florida and other states.

The provision includes $125 million for citrus disease research over five years and $125 million in discretionary citrus funding over five years, which needs to be approved during the appropriations process.

“Citrus greening threatens not only the existence of Florida citrus farmers and producers, but the entire U.S. citrus industry,” Buchanan said. “Finding a cure for this destructive disease is vital to maintaining a strong economy and protecting jobs right here in southwest Florida. This measure represents a crucial step forward by securing a sustainable funding source necessary to combat this pervasive disease.”

Citrus greening cost Florida more than $4.5 billion in lost citrus production in the 2006-2007 and 2010-2011 production seasons. During that time, citrus greening also led to more than 8,200 lost jobs in the state, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Citrus greening has also impacted the citrus industries in California, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) joined Buchanan in the effort to include citrus funding in the farm bill.

“This means people will still have orange juice to drink,” Nelson said.