Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is dedicated to protecting Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry from pests and disease. Laurel wilt, spread by the red ambrosia beetle, is currently threatening the state’s avocado industry.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, under the leadership of Commissioner Putnam, has provided four Specialty Crop Block Grants to research and combat laurel wilt to save the state’s $64 million avocado industry. These grants funded research by experts at the University of Florida and Florida International University.
The latest grant program funded disease-sniffing dogs and high-flying drones to identify laurel wilt in the groves. More information about this program can be seen in the CBS News story that ran this morning.
CBS News: Drones, Dogs Used to Protect Avocado from Disease
CBS News: MAY 5, 2015, 8:35 AM | A devastating fungal disease in Florida threatens the nation’s nearly half-billion dollar avocado industry. That’s leading researchers to use extreme measures like drones and dogs to respond. Vicente Arenas reports from an avocado grove in South Florida with a first-hand look at the air and ground battle.