Chairman Johnson: Working Together

As I look ahead to another Florida citrus season, I am grateful and optimistic. We all have our own opinions on what the season may hold, and we are quite anxious to know if what we think will happen does happen. But in the background, I’m getting a front row seat of how many of our industry regulators, partners and policymakers are working together to find a path to our successful future.

The FDOC, FDACS, Florida Nursery Growers, Florida Citrus Mutual and NVDMC quickly and thoughtfully pulled together the Program for Expedited Propagation on tight deadline, allowing the FCC to approve 27 agreements with funding of nearly $1 million for the expedited propagation of the Donaldson tree and others like it. The key, here, is that we now know how to ignite similar programs for any other promising plant material we find.

We now also have a process for growers to report promising trees they’ve observed and get the right eyes in the field.

We have other solutions on the horizon. The FCC will hear more about CRISPR advances and consumer sentiment surrounding gene editing at our September 28, 2022, meeting.

In the weeks to come, I believe we’ll hear more from regulators and potential registrants about bactericides, direct systemic application, and the process to get those tools into growers’ hands. Words will matter. Actions will matter. We are not a group that stands still, and we have good coming our way. Please stay tuned for how the FDOC is working within a strong group of citrus warriors ready to serve all of us in the field. Our team is ready.

Steve Johnson is Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, which oversees the Florida Department of Citrus. He is the owner and general manager of Johnson Harvesting, Inc., based in Wauchula, FL.