Funding for citrus greening research included in Farm Bill

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SARASOTA-- A portion of the massive Farm Bill passed Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, allocates tens of millions of dollars to be used to research the disease known as, Citrus Greening.

The bacterial disease continues to impact Florida's $9 billion a year citrus industry.

"When a tree catches it, it kills the tree and sours the fruit. The only way to fix it is replace the tree and plant a new one, but even then, there is still a 40% chance that the new tree will get the disease," said John Albritton of Albritton Fruit Farm in Sarasota.

Under the Farm Bill, $125 million in mandatory funding, and $125 million in discretionary funding, will be used to research the incurable disease.

"I'm extremely pleased. It's really good to hear for us and anyone else in the citrus business. Right now we are fighting a losing battle," said Albritton.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Congressman Vern Buchanan voted in favor of the bill. He released the following statement:

“Today’s vote is a win for the Florida citrus industry and Florida jobs. Finding a cure for this destructive disease is vital to maintaining a strong economy and protecting jobs right here at home. This measure represents a crucial step forward by securing a sustainable funding source necessary to combat this pervasive disease.”