Read what the new Highlands County Citrus Growers Association President, had to say on citrus topics.


The Highlands County Citrus Growers Association’s (HCCGA) Annual Meeting on March 2nd saw the election of a new president, Billy Barben. He succeeded last year’s president, Ned Hancock. Barden has family citrus ties, with two brothers who have also served terms as HCCGA presidents, according to a Citrus Industry Magazine article. ““I’m more of the dirt guy in my family,” Barben was quoted as saying.

In the article, he also shared his thoughts on a few topics that are surely on the minds of fellow citrus growers.

Barben: Citrus Growers Have Over-Sprayed with Insecticides


Barden believes too much insecticide has been used by citrus growers in an attempt to kill Asian citrus psyllids, the miniscule insects that transmit citrus greening from tree to tree. He believes it has harmed beneficial insects.

“I really believe we’ve gone after the psyllids too hard with insecticidal sprays, and we’ve ruined all our beneficials,” he was quoted as saying in the article. “The mites have come back to harm us. Some fruit hasn’t made it to fresh as it should. It went to juice (and) lost a lot of money per acre.”

Barben: Optimistic on Postbloom Fruit Drop


Barben was optimistic about 2017’s chances with Postbloom Fruit Drop, or PFD, chiefly because of the weather. “The last few years … we had some wet bloom seasons,” he was quoted as saying in the article. “But this year it seemed to be dry, and hopefully it’ll stay dry for another month … and we won’t have that fungus hitting us as hard as it did last year.”

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