Over 60 years ago, citrus growers concerned about ensuring the long-term health of the citrus industry in the San Joaquin valley formed citrus pest control districts, as provided in the California Food and Agriculture Code, Citrus Pest District Control Law. In 1963, these districts united in a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) to form the Central California Tristeza Eradication Agency. Three districts, representing approximately 160,000 assessed commercial citrus-producing acres within portions of Fresno and Tulare counties, and all of Kern County, continue to participate in the JPA. Adjoining non-JPA districts add another 140,000 assessed acres to the total area.
Today, operating the Citrus Pest Detection Program, the Agency continues its mission to serve citrus growers by
1) Leading and/or participating in efforts to protect against, detect, control, and/or eradicate any citrus pest or disease of concern; and
2) Encouraging and supporting appropriate research programs to assist in the elimination of the threat of citrus pests and/or diseases.
The program’s focus is on the detection of citrus diseases and/or pests that have the potential to negatively impact tree viability and/or productivity (currently concentrated on Asian citrus psyllid/Huanglongbing and Citrus tristeza virus). This proactive program helps to maintain a strong and globally competitive fresh citrus industry.
The Agency is governed by a Board of Commissioners made up of growers who represent each of the JPA districts. The Technical Advisory Committee, made up of scientific and regulatory experts from the University of California, USDA, CDFA and participating Counties, provides scientific and technical expertise and guidance. The Agency employs a regular staff of 15. Seasonal workers are added as operations demand.
The Citrus Pest Detection Program visually inspects and/or collects samples from trees in commercial groves, and conducts serological and/or molecular tests on the samples in the Agency’s laboratory facilities. In addition to specified JPA services, on a contract basis the Agency provides diagnostic services as requested for individual growers, researchers, and nurserymen, as well as non-JPA citrus pest control districts and other regulatory entities.
Growers fund the Program through a special assessment on their commercial citrus acreage. The special assessment is calculated on a 100-tree-acre basis, and appears on the annual property tax bill. The assessment is based on budgets independently established by each pest control district. Fiscal year 2018-2019 JPA-district assessments are $9.50 in the Central Valley Pest Control District (Fresno County), $10.76 in the Kern County Citrus Pest Control District, and $11.42 in the Southern Tulare County Citrus Pest Control District. Contract services contribute additional funding.
The Board of Commissioners and staff wish to thank the citrus growers throughout the San Joaquin Valley, and especially the three JPA-participating pest control districts, for their high level of support and cooperation with the Program’s protection efforts.