Florida Citrus Industry Gets a Boost from Department of Commerce Investment
June 25, 2010
Contact: John Atwood, (202) 482-4085
Florida Citrus Mutual and Georgia Tech Research Corporation to Undertake Pilot Project to ID Diseased Citrus Trees
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) today announced a $200,000 grant to the Florida Citrus Mutual of Lakeland, Florida to undertake a demonstration project that would use new aerial-based technology to identify diseased citrus trees in a timely and cost efficient manner.
"The citrus industry represents $9 billion of Florida's economy," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John R. Fernandez. "The industry must contend with imported diseases and insects, and eradicating these problems would make them more productive. The results of this project will be disseminated throughout Florida and beyond to strengthen the industry's competitiveness."
"The Florida citrus industry is facing a number of diseases and this type of technology will assist us in locating them in a cost efficient way. Scouting groves is an essential but expensive process and anything we can do to lower costs is a good thing," said Michael W. Sparks, Executive Vice President and CEO, Florida Citrus Mutual.
This investment supports the first demonstration and utilization of innovative, advanced aerial-based technology for the timely and cost efficient identification of diseased citrus trees. Targeted, tree limb-level corrective measures can then be quickly taken to help preserve Florida's citrus industry.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov):
This year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) marks 45 years of public service, with a mission of leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster job creation, collaboration and innovation.