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Fighting the Disease Killing Citrus Crops

New AAEA member research on ways to combat growing problem of Citrus Greening

Citrus Greening is a disease destroying citrus crops— and there is currently no cure once a tree gets infected.

“Some states are associated with certain crops, and in Florida we have oranges,” says AAEA member Ariel Singerman of the University of Florida. “(Citrus Greening) has had an enormous impact on growers, processors, and Floridians in general because there are many people employed by the citrus industry.”

But it’s not just Florida feeling the impact. Texas and Arizona also have the disease, and this year Citrus Greening has been discovered in California. In addition, consumers nationwide are seeing rising prices at the grocery store.

There may be no cure for an infected tree, but is there a way to slow the spread? That is the focus of Singerman’s paper “Is Area-Wide Pest Management Useful? The Case of Citrus Greening” selected to appear in the Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy journal.

Area-wide pest management involves farmers coordinating pest-control sprays as an alternative to each individual producer spraying their own fields.  Evidence shows area-wide pest management is successful in slowing down the impact of Citrus Greening, so why are many growers not doing it?

“That’s the controversial part of it,” Singerman said. “One would think (growers) would jump at the opportunity, but there’s uncertainty involved in relying on the actions of others.”

To learn more on this new research on a topic with immediate industry impact, or to set up an interview with the author, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

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