2014 Farm Bill Provides for Research Towards Citrus Greening and Specialty Crops in Florida
WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), member of the House Committee on Appropriations, released the following statement after passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.
“The passage of this Farm Bill is a huge achievement that supports the Sunshine State’s unique agricultural needs. It improves and strengthens our agricultural programs while saving taxpayers $23 billion in spending. By consolidating wasteful programs and reducing red tape for job creators, we are able to protect our farmers, ranchers, growers, and consumers.
“The Farm Bill is particularly important for Florida and the 25th district. It provides for combating invasive pests and diseases, enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops, and research for pest and disease prevention. I’m ecstatic that the bill also includes a robust and unprecedented program to focus on research geared towards eradicating citrus greening. The $125 million in funding is essential to beating the disease wreaking havoc on Florida’s signature crop.
“I congratulate Chairman Lucas on the success of this bill and thank him for recognizing Florida’s distinctive needs. I also want to commend my Congressional colleagues for working together alongside the citrus industry to make sure vital funding to combat greening was included in the Farm Bill. It is landmark legislation that will address our nation’s agricultural industries over the next 5 years.”
Florida’s agriculture industry has a $100 billion economic impact on the state’s economy throughout the 50,000 farms in the state, which produce almost 300 different commercial goods. The citrus industry is Florida’s most prosperous, bringing $9 billion dollars yearly to its economic and providing over 75,000 jobs. Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that has been a chronic problem for our country’s citrus industry, especially in Florida. The disease can be found in each of Florida’s 32 commercial citrus producing counties.