Rooney Secures Millions For Citrus In Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17), co-chair of the Congressional Citrus Caucus, secured just over $61 million in funding to combat citrus greening disease in the 2017 Consolidated Appropriations bill that will be voted on in the House of Representatives this week. Florida’s citrus industry employees 75,000 people and accounts for $9 billion of the agriculture industry’s total economic impact.
Rooney is one of three members of Florida’s Congressional delegation to sit on the prestigious House Appropriations Committee and he is the only Florida member serving on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. In that capacity, he has worked on behalf of Florida’s citrus growers and producers to secure critical funding for citrus disease research programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes $7.5 million to sustain the Huanglongbing Multiagency Coordination Group’s (HLB-MAC) recent research gains in early detection, greening management strategies, and therapies to treat infected trees and $53.8 million for the USDA’s Citrus Health Response Program (CHRP). CHRP is a nationwide effort to protect the U.S. citrus industry from invasive pests and diseases, like HLB, and funds for this program allow the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to partner with states and local entities to develop a cure for citrus greening disease.
“I represent the largest citrus-producing district in the country and my growers have experienced firsthand how greening disease decimates Florida’s citrus industry,” Rooney said. “Since we first saw citrus greening surface in Florida in 2005, citrus crop has declined precipitously and is expected to hit all-time low for the 2016 to 2017 season. Since I was elected in 2008, one of my top priorities has been finding a cure for citrus greening and this money will help to get us there. This $61 million investment is urgently-needed to sustain progress on research and development of a cure for citrus greening and to prevent the American citrus industry from becoming extinct. In Florida, and especially my district, citrus isn’t just a crop, it’s a way of life.”