UC Riverside has unveiled a new lab dedicated to fighting a deadly citrus disease that’s ravaged citrus groves in Florida and China.
The disease is called Huanglongbing, or HLB. It’s a disease that kills citrus trees.
The new lab is billed as the product of a partnership between the state’s citrus growers and UCR, aimed at protecting California’s $3.3 billion citrus industry from HLB.
The $8 million lab was funded by the California Citrus Research Foundation through donations by citrus growers and packers.
Casey Creamer is the president of California Citrus Mutual, an advocacy group that represents citrus growers. He claimed at the lab’s unveiling that it will be where the cure for HLB will be found, and urged statewide cooperation in fighting it.
Creamer: “So I call on all of us here today to not just think about this facility as the cure, but this is the start of a partnership between the community in town here in Riverside, Ventura, and across California, across government, across research, to finally get this thing done.”
If you own citrus trees and suspect they may be infected with HLB, you can call the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s hotline at 1-800-491-1899.