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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citrus Research Board and UC create a $1 million endowment for citrus research
VISALIA, CALIF. – October 22, 2018 – The Citrus Research Board and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources have established a $1 million endowment to fund the Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. The endowed researcher will provide a UC Cooperative Extension scientist a dedicated source of funds to support scholarly activities focused on the long-term sustainability of the citrus industry.
“I wish to thank the Citrus Research Board for establishing the Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection at LREC endowment,” said UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston. “This gift, coupled with the $500,000 match from the UC Office of the President, will help to ensure the long-term success of exemplary research focused on the California citrus industry.”
UC President Janet Napolitano provided half the funds for the endowed researcher; the CRB donated the other half.
“We are gratified that President Napolitano has selected the CRB for this prestigious match program,” said CRB Chairman Dan Dreyer. “It will be invaluable in helping us to pursue critical research that will yield beneficial findings to support the sustainability of the California citrus industry.”
The new endowment supports the UC Citrus Clonal Protection Program, which distributes pathogen-tested, true-to-type citrus budwood to nurseries, farmers and the public to propagate citrus trees for commercial and personal use. The CCPP maintains blocks of trees that serve as the primary source of budwood for all important fruit and rootstock varieties for California’s citrus industry and researchers.
The CCPP is a cooperative program between UC ANR, CRB, the California Citrus Nursery Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. CCPP director Georgios Vidalakis, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in plant pathology at UC Riverside, shared his appreciation for the efforts that led to the creation of the new endowed researcher position.
“My thanks to the citrus growers for their decades-long support, especially the members of the CCPP committee of the CRB for their vision, and UC’s Greg Gibbs for coordinating all of the efforts,” he said. Vidalakis also praised Lindcove director Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell “for making the case to our growers about the importance of this endowment and for making plans to house the UC ANR endowment at the LREC.”
A selection committee will award the endowment to a distinguished UC ANR academic. An annual payout will be used to provide salary, graduate student and/or program support. The researcher will be named for a five-year term. At the end of that period, the appointment will be reviewed and either renewed or taken back to a selection committee to choose another UC ANR academic.
“I would like to thank the CRB for this generous gift and their continued support of our research for CCPP at the LREC,” said UC ANR Director of Major Gifts Greg Gibbs.
The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the state’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.
The Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection is the fifth $1 million UC ANR endowment to support California agriculture. The other endowments are:
The Citrus Research Board presented the $500,000 endowment to the University of California on October 10, 2018 at the 2018 California Citrus Conference. Pictured are (left to right): Dan Dreyer, Chairman, Citrus Research Board; Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D., Director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center and Research Entomologist, University of California, Riverside; Tu Tran, Associate Vice President, Business Operations, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Greg Gibbs, Director of Major Gifts, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Georgios Vidalakis, Ph.D., Professor and UC Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside and Director, Citrus Clonal Protection Program.
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VISALIA, CALIF. – October 8, 2018 – The Citrus Research Board (CRB) is pleased to announce Franco Bernardi will serve as the organizations interim president. As of October 15, Bernardi will lead daily staff operations and management.
Bernardi’s leadership will guide the CRB during the next several months as it celebrates its 50th anniversary and continues to invest in solutions to huanglongbing (HLB), the deadly citrus disease that has devastated other citrus-growing regions worldwide.
“We are extremely fortunate to be able to call on one of the leaders of our industry to steer the helm as our search committee looks for a full-time president,” said CRB Chairman Dan Dreyer, who will announce Bernardi’s appointment formally on October 10 at the annual California Citrus Conference, which is attended by hundreds of citrus growers, researchers and other industry representatives.
Bernardi held a seat on the CRB Board for 27-years, serving as CRB chairman from 1997-99, Bernardi had chaired a number of CRB committees during his nearly three decades on the Board. He also served on the boards of other organizations, such as the Central California Orange Growers Cooperative, California Citrus Advisory Committee, California Citrus Mutual and the California Citrus Quality Council, to name only a few.
Early in Bernardi’s career, he worked at Del Monte Foods in their ag research division and then as a senior research associate for the University of Arizona. For 38 years prior to his retirement, he served in management at a number of citrus operations, including Superior Farming, Paramount Citrus, Sun World, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Agricultural Capital Management.
The Lucca, Italy native is a 28-year resident of Visalia, who studied agricultural science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He and his wife Kathy have been married for 52 years and have five children and 11 grandchildren.
The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 enabling the State’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.
On August 7-8, 2018, twenty-one federal and state citrus research funding agency representatives met at the USDA Agriculture Research Service Horticulture Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida to discuss the recommendation made by the 2018 National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) study on HLB research for all the HLB research funding agencies “to develop a fresh systems approach to HLB research prioritization and strategic distribution of resources for research leading to effective HLB management.”
The meeting opened with presentations by Dr. Tom Bewick, National Program Leader, USDA NIFA, Dr. Jacqueline Fletcher, Regents Professor Emerita, Oklahoma State University and chairman of the NASEM HLB Research committee and Dr. Jeff Gwyn, Program Director of the International Wheat Yield Partnership. Each of these presenters made the case for a coordinated funding model for HLB research. Dr. Fletcher, in particular, amplified the recommendations that the NASEM committee put forth, calling for greater coordination among the state and federal agencies funding HLB research.
Sixty‐two citrus rootstock and scion breeders, university administrators, citrus industry representatives, federal government officials and citrus research funding agency representatives met in Denver, Colorado to discuss barriers and find solutions to achieve more effective coordination and collaboration among citrus breeder scientists working on huanglongbing (HLB) mitigation. Participants identified four major areas of barriers based on the whole group’s discussion of the pre‐workshop survey: 1) Scientific Barriers, 2) Regulatory Barriers, 3) Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer Barriers and 4) Funder‐related Barriers. This final report outlines their findings and next steps to achieve more effective coordination and collaboration among citrus breeder scientists working on HLB mitigation.
NEW STUDY REVEALS CALIFORNIA CITRUS ECONOMIC IMPACT
Citrus Research Board Quantifies Industry Importance
May 16, 2018 – Visalia, Calif. – The total economic impact of California’s iconic citrus industry is $7.117 billion according to a new study commissioned by the Citrus Research Board (CRB).
“In updating our economic analysis, we selected a well-known expert, Bruce Babcock, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, to conduct the research. His findings quantified the significant impact of citrus on California’s economic well-being,” said CRB President Gary Schulz.
According to Babcock, the California citrus industry added $1.695 billion to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. “California citrus is a major contributor to the economic value of the state’s agricultural sector and is much larger than just the value of its sales,” he said. “Estimated full-time equivalent California citrus jobs totaled 21,674 in 2016-17, and estimated wages paid by the industry during that same timeframe totaled $452 million.”
Babcock added, “The application of management skills and capital equipment to efficiently utilize land and water to produce high-quality citrus also generates upstream and downstream jobs and income that magnify the importance of citrus production beyond its farm value.”
In 2016-17, the most recent marketing year of data compilation, Babcock found that the total direct value of California citrus production was $3.389 billion. This value generated an additional $1.263 billion in economic activity from related businesses that supplied materials and services to the citrus industry. Layered on top was another $2.464 billion in economic activity generated by household spending income that they received from California’s industry, according to Babcock, thus rendering a total economic impact of $7.117 billion.
The study revealed that 79 percent of California’s citrus was packed for the fresh market and 21 percent was processed in 2016-17, which is economically significant because fresh market fruit has a higher value than processed fruit.”
Of further note, California produced about 95 percent of all U.S. mandarins in the most recent reporting season.
California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen commented, “The “wow” factor in this report is something as it relates to gross revenues and positive impact for the state, people and local communities. This enthusiasm must be tempered by the fact that huanglongbing (HLB) can destroy all this in a matter of a year if the partnerships that exist between the industry and government cannot thwart the spread of this insidious disease. Just this week, coincidentally, Brazil authorities reported a 20% reduction in fruit volume. Reading how that would affect our family farmers, employees and the state is sobering.”
The CRB study also looked at the possible impact of a potential 20 percent reduction in California citrus acreage or yield or a combination of the two that could result from increased costs associated with meeting government regulations, combatting the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and warding off the invasion of HLB, a devastating disease that has decimated citrus production in many other growing regions such as Florida. Babcock calculated that such a reduction could cause a loss of 7,350 jobs and $127 million in associated employment income and could reduce California’s GDP by $501 million in direct, indirect and induced impacts. The CRB currently is devoting most of its resources to battling ACP and HLB to help ensure the sustainability of California citrus.
Babcock is a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and has won numerous awards for his applied policy research. The economist received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and his Masters and Bachelors degrees from the University of California, Davis.
The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the State’s citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board and the full report on the “Economic Impact of California’s Citrus Industry” may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), honored four organizations for their achievements in reducing risk from pesticide use in a public ceremony on February 12, 2018.
“The variety of award winners this year demonstrates that pests—both in agricultural and urban settings—can be managed successfully using effective, low-risk methods,” said DPR Director Brian Leahy. “Integrated pest management is fundamental for managing pests thoughtfully and effectively in California.”
The IPM Achievement Awards recognize organizations that use integrated pest management (IPM) to address the diverse pest management needs throughout California. IPM is a tool that allows people to manage pests by using natural and preventative strategies, and thus reduces the use of chemical pesticides. The awards will be given in the areas of innovation, leadership, and education and outreach.
The Citrus Research Board Joint Agency Biological Control Task Force was one of the four honorees.
In 2010, the Citrus Research Board (CRB) established a task force to help control an invasive insect pest called Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a serious threat to the $3 billion California citrus industry. ACPs, which are as small as a grain of rice, can infect backyard citrus trees (and potentially commercial orchards) with a bacteria that causes a devastating plant disease called Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease. There is no cure for HLB and it is fatal to trees. The CRB Joint Agency Biological Control Task Force was created and is comprised of the Citrus Research Board, California Department of Food & Agriculture, University of California-Riverside, the United States Department of Agriculture and Cal Poly-Pomona.
Instead of relying solely on conventional pesticides to fight this insect, the task force developed a program using natural predators as a means of reducing ACP populations. The Task Force imported, reared and studied parasitic wasps from Pakistan that kill ACPs. These wasps are a key part of the first biocontrol program that successfully targeted and reduced ACP populations in urban areas and citrus orchards while replacing large-scale, pesticide-driven campaigns in sensitive urban sites. At this time, the project has been successfully implemented in several counties, including Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. The Task Force was honored for innovation and leadership.
The Citrus Research Board would like to congratulate the other three honorees; Hines Landscaping San Francisco, Manteca Unified School District Operations Department and Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District and thank CDPR for this honor.
The Citrus Research Board (CRB) has released the final report of the HLB External Review, conducted at University of California, Davis on August 14-18, 2017. This report is for use in making future research funding decisions, closing research gaps, encouraging closer collaboration and other purposes as identified in the report.
The Citrus Research Board (CRB) has announced the recent hiring of Qijun Xiang, Ph.D., as director of the Jerry Dimitman Laboratory in Riverside, California.
As lab director, Xiang will work to re-establish a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)-certified high throughput diagnostic laboratory designation for HLB detection with initial emphasis placed on ACP samples. He will report directly to CRB President Gary Schulz and will supervise laboratory staff responsible for preparing and analyzing insect and plant samples. Xiang’s group will work with CRB staff and other agencies such as the California Department of Food and Agriculture/Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program, USDA-APHIS, USDA Agricultural Research Service and county pest control districts on regional diagnostic programs.
Michelle Cilia, Ph.D., California Citrus Research Board (CRB) researcher and research molecular biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) at the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, has been named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
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