Agriculture Press Release

February 23, 2000

Stepped-up Canker Eradication Effort Is Launched

FORT LAUDERDALE A plan to speed up the elimination of citrus canker in Florida is now underway, and area residents will see a substantial increase in program activity in Palm Beach County and points south.

Crews with the Florida Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture are now in Palm Beach and Broward counties moving southward, looking at all citrus trees to determine whether they are infected with citrus canker or exposed to the disease.

The initiative to eliminate citrus canker within one year was recently announced by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford after the rapid spread of the disease forced a state of emergency to be declared. Crawfords initiative calls for more than $100 million in state and federal funding to accelerate the eradication effort.

It will mean cutting infected trees and those that are located within 1,900 feet, which are exposed. This increased action is a result of scientific research which showed that heavy rainstorms can spread citrus canker more than 4,000 feet. However, 95 percent of the spread occurred within 1,900 feet. This is the most conservative cutting possible without putting the eradication effort in jeopardy.

A canopy replacement program in which all residents who lose citrus trees from their yard are eligible for a $100 voucher to buy non-citrus replacement trees, other foliage or other garden and lawn items is also continuing. Residents will be getting information in the near future about how the program works and where the voucher can be redeemed. Anyone with questions about the program can call the citrus canker helpline at 1-800-850-3781.


For more information:
Mark Fagan
(954) 797-6900

Liz Compton
(850) 509-4323

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