Additional $4.5 million goes towards citrus greening research

Congress included an additional $4.5 million to combat citrus greening in the $1.1 trillion federal budget resolution approved earlier this month.

The additional funds support the Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP), which oversees best practices for citrus growers dealing with citrus greening and other diseases. Managed by the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the program received a total of $48 million in the budget resolution, which is split among the citrus-producing states.

According to The Ledger, program officials in Florida are seeking $8.3 million of it, some of which could go toward an abandoned grove initiative.

In a statement, Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, said the budget resolution is crucial to the state’s agriculture as it provides much needed funds to combat citrus greening, which is “decimating the Florida citrus industry.”

Both Ross and Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, helped secure the additional funds.

$500 billion farm bill passed earlier this year included $125 million to fund citrus greening research. The money will be spread out over five years.