Florida Citrus Commission Makes R & D Foundation Appointments

Gary Cooper Citrus, Florida, General

Lakeland, Fla. — The Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) appointed five industry leaders to serve on the board of directors for the newly formed Citrus Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (CRDF) The foundation is a not-for-profit arm of the University of Florida, called a university direct-support organization, established to manage research projects to yield solutions to greening and other diseases that threaten the future of the citrus industry.

“The Citrus Research and Development Foundation is the culmination of efforts begun in early 2008 by the Florida Citrus Commission to fund citrus disease research in a timely and accountable manner,” commented Ken Keck, Florida Department of Citrus executive director. “This new partnership with the University of Florida will continue to unify growers, the best scientific minds, and the necessary resources to address the urgent need to solve the diseases that are plaguing our industry,” he added.
The following individuals were approved by the FCC for service on the CRDF:
· Wesley Brumback, Florida Citrus Commissioner, TRB Groves
· Ricke Kress, Southern Gardens Citrus
· Jerry Newlin, Orangeco of Florida
· Bob Stambaugh, Sharit, Bunn & Chilton, PA law firm
· Dan Gunter, agri-business consultant
In addition, Florida Citrus Mutual appointed five representatives to the CRDF:
· Marty McKenna
· Wayne Simmons
· Bobby Barben
· Tom Jerkins
· Joe Davis, Jr.
Two additional board members will be appointed by the University of Florida and one by the Florida Department of Agriculture.

“The Florida scientific community has demonstrated their willingness to embrace new research directions to fight greening,” said Bob Norberg, deputy executive director, research and operations, Florida Department of Citrus. “It is absolutely necessary for a partnership, such as the CRDF, to help focus the proper resources on this battle. The research efforts of federal state, university, public and private institutions, as well as international entities are essential to the disease research process.”

After an extensive, independent peer review process of more than 200 proposals, the National Academy of Sciences and the Florida Citrus Production Research Advisory Council recommended 83 citrus disease research proposals for funding. FDOC will fund 70 research projects totaling $10.8 million. The remaining 13 projects, representing $2.8 million, will be funded by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All contracts will be turned over to be managed by the CRDF.

“We look forward to the leadership role that the Citrus Research and Development Foundation will play in the battle against greening,” Keck concluded. “These combined efforts will continue to help ensure the future of the Florida citrus industry.”
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