ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – In an effort to fight back a disease that has decimated the Sunshine State's most famous crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that it plans to spend $30 million fighting citrus greening.
The funding will be split between long-term research and shorter-term measures, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday.
Vilsak says $23 million will fund research on lasting solutions at four universities. Those schools are the University of Florida; the University of California, Davis; the University of California, Riverside; and Kansas State University.
Another $7 million will fund specific projects. One project lowers pH levels in irrigation water and soil to strengthen root systems in citrus trees.
Another project tests rootstock that has been shown to tolerate the disease.
The disease has caused Florida orange production to drop by more than half in the past decade.
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