Read the highlights from a Q&A with Citrus Achievement Award Winner Steven Callaham that touch on citrus greening and diversification.

Every year, a Florida citrus grower or affiliated partner is recognized as a Citrus Achievement Award Winner by Florida Grower magazine, and a banquet is held in the winner’s honor. This year, the challenges of Covid-19 moved the celebration online with a special webinar featuring Q&As with four past winners. See the highlights of winner Steven Callaham, the CEO of the Dundee Citrus Growers Association, from a Growing Produce article.

Q&A With a Citrus Achievement Award Winner

Callaham shared information concerning diversification and citrus greening.

Q: How have grower members of Dundee Citrus Growers Association learned to live with citrus greening?

A: “The biggest things have been trying to grow a variety that has some level of tolerance to greening and then intensely managing the nutrition program. In addition, our association is growing citrus under protective screen, which takes greening out of the mix by excluding the psyllid.”

Q: With the association adding peaches and blueberries to its harvesting, packing, and marketing mix, how was the 2020 season?

A: “Our peach crop was lighter this season. We did not have the chilling hours during the winter to set as big a crop as last year. Having said that, we had good demand and a strong market throughout the season, even in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak.”

“Our blueberry growers had a tough season because of a couple of factors. When COVID-19 hit, there was somewhat of a log jam at distribution centers as consumers shifted to buying shelf-stable items, toiletries and cleaning supplies. The peak blueberry volume hit right as all of this occurred. The other bigger issue was the amount of Mexican blueberries coming across the border into the U.S. The volume of imports during Florida’s market window was up by more than 50% over last season.”

See the full article here.

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