February 27, 2015 ACP Meeting Summary & Implementation Suggestions

February 27, 2015

To: All So. Cal. Organic Citrus Growers:

Re: Post February 18th ACP Meeting Summary & Implementation Suggestions for 2015

Greetings! Thanks to the efforts made in recent years by California’s agricultural agencies and citrus industry at large, most of us have already received sufficient information about the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Our meeting’s purpose was to help us organic growers decide how to individually go about controlling this insect in our groves this year. The following bullet points represent some of the take-away information received at the meeting. I hope this information is helpful to you.

• Though production of the Tamarixia wasp continues to increase, we are still in a deficit, especially when considering that the majority of the wasps are earmarked for more urban area releasing. Therefore, we need to persistently request this important predator and make sure we get it released in our groves this spring/summer.

• Control of Ants is extremely important if we want the Beneficial Insects (i.e., Tamarixia wasp, spiders, lacewings, etc.) to eat ACP eggs/nymphs and have increased effectiveness with treatment sprays.

• CRB funding needs to include research on the effectiveness of the complete IPM (non-spray approach) to controlling the ACP in Southern California as soon as/once an early detection method for HLB on trees is available.

• CPDPP will continue to promote its plan for all organic growers to follow a spray program for the year (i.e., spring and fall flushes and winter-over), with the additional support of growers introducing predator/beneficial insects into the groves between sprays.

• Our Local PCA’s seemingly support an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach of increasing the supply of predator insects in our groves and only spray if necessary.

• HLB (citrus greening disease) may begin to show up in the near future. We all need to do what we can to help prevent ACP populations from developing in and nearly our groves. It is time to be very proactive with our neighbors and the CPDPP to make sure these grove properties are inspected and treated, especially if they have less than 25 trees. Remember, there is no cost at this time for these smaller treatments in areas that form a PMA (pest management area) with their local grower liaison.

• There was discussion regarding the formation of a group. I believe that this will be very helpful to our survival. As a group we can do the following:

1. Increase area-wide awareness with other organic citrus growers.
2. Increased numbers of organic growers in an ACP group gives us a respected voice with CDFA, CRB and CPDPP.
3. The CPDPP’s Outreach to influence nearby urban areas and control dead/neglected groves will be supported.
4. Hopefully impact the cost of existing organic spray and treatment materials and/or perhaps introduce new, less expensive alternatives for approval and use to control the ACP.
5. Improve and increase the communication between the Organic Grower, PCA and CPDPP with the use of a Networking Website where PCA’s in the Network can report in and growers can blog responses. Growers can then be informed of upcoming events, etc.

It’s amazing that we achieved this much in a half-day meeting. As you consider your approach to handling the ACP this year, I hope you will include a decision to stay connected. In being connected as it relates to the last Bullet Point, I encourage you to join those who signed up at the meeting with your email and phone number in order to start a committed grower list. If a website blog is set up, it will not be run by Rainbow Valley Orchards, but initiated by me as a grower along with the PCA’s that spoke in the Panel Session. I will be checking with the Farm Bureau for support on running this as well. As this develops, I will keep you informed. So, please let me know if you are in. Just like the meeting, there will be no charge or fee to be connected. I do suggest, if you haven’t done so already, to do what you can to follow the suggestions I have listed below:

1. Contact a P.C.A. to have your grove inspected for ACP.
2. Connect with Enrico Ferro, P.C.A., our area-wide grower Liaison for the CPDPP.
3. Contact the CDFA Biological Program Director, David Morgan, PhD. (For Tamarixia Release Info.)
4. Find a local Spray Contractor.

Lastly, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions that you would like to report or would like some help sorting this out for your grove, please feel free to contact me at one of the numbers listed above. You can also call Monica Tentman at our Rainbow office (x109) and get a list of contact numbers for the PCA’s and agencies listed in this letter. Thanks for your attention to this important issue. We hope you can make a committed effort and Spread the Word!

Rich Hart

Note: Enrico Ferro, P.C.A., So. Cal. Liaison, CPDPP contributed to this summary.