Visalia, Calif., (October 10, 2017) – The California Citrus Conference, scheduled for October 11, will feature California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary Karen Ross as its keynote speaker.
All those associated with the California citrus industry are invited to attend the free one-day event of presentations and demonstrations sponsored by the Citrus Research Board (CRB) at the Wyndham Hotel in Visalia, California. The conference will share the “best of the best” in research developments, according to CRB President Gary Schulz, and will emphasize work being done to combat huanglongbing (HLB).
“HLB, which has decimated the citrus industry in other growing regions throughout the world, has now been found in over 150 residential trees in California,” said Schulz. “Secretary Ross will convey to growers that the CDFA understands the urgency of finding a cure for this devastating disease and stands foursquare behind the CRB’s wide-reaching research efforts.”
“This disease is fatal to citrus trees,” Ross said. “It has no cure, so the solution must come from research – research that is already well underway, thanks to foresight and funding from growers and our state and federal leaders.”
Ross has served as CDFA Secretary for nearly seven years. She previously was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and also had been president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers and vice-president of the Agricultural Council of California. Under her stewardship, the CDFA has worked diligently to track, contain and slow the spread of Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) and HLB by setting traps, treating trees in infested areas and removing HLB-positive trees.
Other featured topics and speakers at the conference will include:
- “The Very Latest in ACP and HLB Treatment Strategies and Detection Challenges” presented by Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D., director of the Lindcove Research and Extension Center and research entomologist, University of California, Riverside, and Carla Thomas, plant pathologist and epidemiologist, University of California, Davis.
- “Exploration and Exploitation of the Microbial Communities That Associate with Citrus Trees” presented by Johan Leveau, Ph.D., professor of plant pathology, University of California, Davis.
- “Improving Nitrogen Management of Citrus” presented by Steve Petrie, Ph.D., of Yara North America Inc.
- “Being Active Is Not Being Bold” presented by Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual.
- “An Update from the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee (CPDPC)” presented by Nick Hill, CPDPC chairman.
- “Priority Post-Harvest Research to Control Insect Pests of California Citrus” presented by Spencer Walse, Ph.D., research chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Agricultural Research Service, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center.
- “Panel Discussion: Biological Control Program for Asian Citrus Psyllid in California and Arizona” presented by Greg Simmons, Ph.D., entomologist with USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, David Morgan, Ph.D., biocontrol specialist with CDFA and Richard Stouthamer, Ph.D., entomologist with the University of California, Riverside.
- “Citrus Breeding for California: New Tools to Meet the Challenge of HLB” presented by Mikeal Roose, Ph.D., professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside.
- “Streamlining the Introduction of Citrus Varieties from HLB-infested Areas into California. A Case Study – Florida” presented by Georgios Vidalakis, Ph.D., professor and UC extension specialist in plant pathology, University of California, Riverside and director of the Citrus Clonal Protection Program.
The event also will feature scientific poster presentations, networking opportunities and continuing education units, which have been approved by the Department of Pesticide Regulation.
A complimentary breakfast buffet will be served from 6:30-9:00 a.m. Morning conference sessions are scheduled from 9:00 a.m.-noon, and will be highlighted by the keynote address from Secretary Ross. Following a free luncheon, afternoon sessions will run from 1:15-5:00 p.m.
To register or request additional details, contact the CRB on line at www.citrusresearch.org or by phone at 559.738.0246.
Additionally, a special session, “Train the Trainer: Best Practices for Citrus Field Crews to Prevent the Spread of ACP/HLB” will be conducted in Spanish only from 7:00-9:00 a.m. Pre-registration for this seminar is required through www.citrusinsider.org or by phone at 559-592-3790.