Texas is a big state, with a big citrus industry

You can almost say if it can be grown, it can be grown in Texas, and that included citrus. Texas produces on average about 14 million cartons of citrus a year.

Just a few feet from the Rio Grande River in southwest Texas you can see acres and acres of citrus trees. According to Dale Murden, with Texas Citrus Mutual, “The citrus industry is about 27 thousand-acres today... Approximately, 70 percent of the industry is grapefruit, and 30 percent, more or less, is oranges...”

Dale Murden is the president of Texas Citrus Mutual. He is also a citrus grower himself, so he knows the peaks and valleys faced by those in the industry.

“Right now, I think our number one problem is the Mexican fruit fly. Again, being right on the border, it has its pluses but it’s got its minuses. A lot of those pest and disease issues come across the border,” Murden notes. Whether it’s the boll weevil that you’re familiar with cotton or Mexican fruit fly or the Asian citrus psyllid. So, it’s a constant battle here along the border...”

Texas is the third largest citrus producing state behind California and Florida. Its statewide economic impact is more than $465 million dollars a year. Murden says that the lower Rio Grande Valley is the perfect place to grow fruit and veggies.

The growers of grapefruit and organs face challenges from citrus greening disease. That is why the Texas Department of Agriculture created the Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation and and industry wide Asian citrus psyllid suppression program. All in an effort to fight greening and make sure these growers have a thriving industry for years to come.

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