Small pest threatens to wipe out citrus crops

November 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Growers and packers met with local, state, and federal Ag officials to talk about an impending quarantine on citrus crops in Tulare County.

The meeting was held at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. The Tulare County Ag Commissioner's Office and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are still working with the federal government to determine the quarantine borders.

A third Asian Citrus Psyllid was found in southern Tulare County. The insect can be deadly to citrus trees. It can carry a bacterial disease called "Huanglongbing" or HLB.

Growers say the increased costs to protect their crops will also drive up citrus prices in stores.

Jim Morcom grows citrus in the Woodlake area, he said, "There's going to be an increased cost and it's going to go to the grower, the grower's going to pay for it in sprays and you know to control this."

Gavin Iacano added, "It has to be free from the stems and leaves and for them to be able to export to different countries it basically just has to be processed which is washed and waxed."

Next week the Tulare County Ag Commissioner's Office is expected to release new details on the quarantine and when it will go into effect.

In the video, Action News reporter Jessica Peres has complete coverage on the story.