Huanglongbing (HLB), better known as citrus greening disease, is endemic in large parts of Asia and Africa and has now made an impact on the Americas. Since 2005, Texas has watched from afar as Florida struggled with citrus greening disease. We knew the devastation that this incurable tree disease could cause as it spreads very quickly, has a lengthy latency period and eventually kills the tree. The Texas citrus industry prepared as much as possible for this disease, but it was still a shock when the first tree was identified in San Juan, Texas with citrus greening disease on January 13, 2012. Citrus greening disease is an incurable citrus tree disease that is spread by a small insect, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). The only form of prevention for this disease is to treat against ACP. The industry and growers banded together to create an Area-Wide Management Program.
Prior to finding citrus greening in Texas, Industry leaders and the state of Texas recognized the potential for our industry to face this disease was very strong, given that ACP was already present in Texas. In 2009, The Texas Legislature, on the request from Industry leaders and growers alike, established a nonprofit corporation, The Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation (TCPDMC). The statute gives the Commissioner of Agriculture the authority to recognize the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation to plan, carry out, and operate suppression programs to manage and control pests and diseases.
The mission of the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation, as declared in the Texas Agriculture Code §80.002, is to manage and control citrus pests and diseases in citrus plants in the state of Texas by planning, carrying-out and operating a suppression program while incorporating an area-wide, integrated pest management approach.
On October 24, 2016, the Texas Department of Agriculture concluded a referendum pursuant to Texas Agriculture Code, Ch. 80, and Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 4, Ch. 27, Subchapter B, for the establishment of a citrus pest and disease management zone, a maximum annual assessment rate and a board of directors to be administered by the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation (The Corporation). On October 31, 2016, The Texas Department of Agriculture concluded that the referendum passed establishing the Lower Rio Grande Valley Pest Management Zone, a maximum assessment rate of $125 per acre as well as electing the board of directors which include: James Bettiga, R.L. Dreibelbis, Jud Flowers, Paul Heller, Jim Hoffman, Dennis Holbrook, Fred Karle, Steve Lievens, Jimmy Pawlik and Bruce Sutton.
The Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation, Inc., a Texas nonprofit corporation, is now recognized by the Texas Department of Agriculture as the entity to plan, carry out, and operate suppression programs to manage and control pests and diseases, including the Asian citrus psyllid and citrus greening, in citrus plants in the state under the supervision of the department.