In 2005, Huanglongbing (HLB, citrus greening) was detected in Florida. HLB is the most economically significant citrus disease in the world. Since the initial detection, Florida has seen a decrease in the citrus fruit box counts from over 200 million boxes to what is now approximately 77 million boxes. Likewise, the amount of commercial citrus acreage has dropped from 750,000 to 430,000 acres.
Currently, individual growers use a mixed strategy, including a variety of practices to try to combat HLB and ACP. These strategies vary by grower with no reported or scientifically proven results attributable to any given combination of management practices.
Experts identified the need for comprehensive field testing of HLB management practices to evaluate the efficacy of the practices. It was also recommended that there be a centralized database to inform growers and assist HLB researchers to improve HLB management practices. These recommendations were implicit in the National Academy of Sciences 2018 Report on Citrus Greening.
The Florida citrus industry did not have a mechanism to direct and manage a broad scale field trial program to determine the efficacy of various citrus greening/HLB treatments that had been individually tested and showed promise but needed to be further studied when used in commercial citrus groves. To address this need, CRAFT Foundation, Inc. was organized. CRAFT Foundation is a private 501(c) 3 Direct Support Organization of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industries authorized under section 570.0691 Florida Statutes. CRAFT Foundation was incorporated June 19, 2019. (Link to Articles of Incorporation)