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Citrus Greening Research Conference Draws Hundreds To Central Florida

Greening is a disease that weakens citrus trees. The fruit becomes unusable. Photo by Amy Green / WMFE

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Hundreds of researchers are in Orlando this week for an international research conference on citrus greening.

Some of the most promising research comes from Central Florida.

In the decade since it appeared in Florida citrus greening has devastated the crop.

Jack Payne of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says the research represents a lifeline for an industry on the brink.

“A lot of folks out there have faith in us, have faith in the science. They see good things happening. I think we will solve this problem. The $64,000 question is will we solve it in time to save the industry.”

Payne says scientists at UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred are developing new citrus varieties that are resilient against the disease.

Ten years ago Florida groves produced 300 million boxes a season. This year they produced just 103 million boxes, the worst season ever.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She began her career at The Associated Press. Her book on the Everglades, under contract with Johns Hopkins ... Read Full Bio »