Florida citrus growers searching for a solution to the devastati - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Florida citrus growers searching for a solution to the devastating citrus greening disease

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. - A tiny bug continues to create big problems for Highlands county citrus grower Marvin Kahn and our citrus industry. 
 
"Citrus greening is truly, in all sense of the word, a devastating disease," Kahn says. "There's no cure for it." 

The industry wide issue has been growing for a decade now and is reaching its peak. 
 
Citrus greening, spread by insects, attacks a citrus tree's vascular system and can kill it within two years. 
 
It's causing panic in the industry - growers are predicting their smallest crop in decades. 
 
Industry leaders and state experts met in Highlands county Thursday to discuss how to attack the problems. 
 
Some of those solutions are showing promise. 
 
"On the bacterial front, we're looking at thermal therapy - applying heat to trees by way of steam," says Harold Browning with the Citrus Research and Development Foundation. "It actually knocks the bacterial populations down." 
 
In the long term - it's all about more trees. 
 
"Across the state, the key to saving these jobs is getting trees in the ground - healthy trees," says Douglas Bournique with the Indian River Citrus League.
 
That's what Kahn is hoping to do with his young grove. 
 
He planted it two years ago, and is making every effort to hold on to it. 
 
"[I'm] planting them more densely and we're caring for them, and we've got them protected by [a] windbreak," Kahn says. 
 
He's doing anything to ensure that his livelihood isn't wiped away. 

The Department of Agriculture is asking lawmakers for $8.5 million dollars to fight the disease. 

In addition, Representative Patrick Murphy is among the lawmakers introducing legislation that would provide tax incentives to farmers who cannot afford to replace trees affected by citrus greening.

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