Florida Citrus Commission sends letter to FDACS in support of Section 18 petition

BARTOW, Fla. – The Florida Citrus Commission voted Wednesday to send a letter to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in support of the Section 18 petition for a specific exemption request allowing the use of several products to help manage tree health in HLB-infected citrus in Florida.

A copy of the letter is below:

October 21, 2015

Charlie Clark, Environmental Admin
FL Dept. of Ag and Consumer Services
Pesticide Registration Section

Dear Mr. Clark:

As Florida Citrus Commissioners, we represent the industry’s short- and long-term interests. Individually, we are growers and processers – volunteer appointees to the Commission who make our livings through the continued viability of Florida’s citrus groves.

Today our industry is in dire straits, given the devastation we have seen as a result of HLB (also known as “greening”). We urge you to act favorably on the Section 18 petition for a specific exemption request allowing the use of Fireline ® 17WP, Oxytetracycline hydrochloride (17% oxytetracycline); Firewall® 50WP, Streptomycin sulfate (50% Streptomycin): and, Mycoshield®, Oxytetracycline Calcium complex (17% Oxytetracycline) in a coordinated program to manage tree health in HLB infected citrus in Florida.

The most recent USDA FASS forecast for the state’s orange crop predicted another big decline, dropping 17% from what had already been a historic low. Our growers are doing everything they can to combat HLB, and they need every tool in the toolbox to be made available to them.

We recognize the rigorous protocols that are associated with this process, and we are confident that the process will ensure that the deployment of sanctioned treatments in the groves will ensure the continued safety of those who grow, process and enjoy Florida citrus products.

Thank you in advance for the help you will provide our industry.

Sincerely,

Chairman Martin J. McKenna, Michael J. Garavaglia, Dan K. Casper, Jonathan N. Hancock, Aedan J. Dowling, Vernon Hollingsworth III, James S. Horrisberger, G. Ellis Hunt Jr., and Francisco J. Pines