Hidalgo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Hidalgo/Pharr, Texas port of entry recently hosted a one-day workshop that centered on the citrus greening disease.
The citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing and or the dragon amarillo, has been identified as one of the most serious diseases affecting the citrus industry. It is known as a disease that greatly reduces citrus production and ultimately kills the citrus tree. The disease, while present in the state of Florida, has not been detected in the citrus producing states of Texas, Arizona, and California. As we know, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas remains a major citrus producing region within southwest Texas.
Approximately 30 participants representing CBP, Texas Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Texas A & M Citrus Center participated in this workshop. In addition, key trade representatives from Texas Citrus Mutual, headquartered in Mission, Texas and Texas Produce Association from the State of Texas also participated.
During the workshop, industry representatives as well as federal, state and local officials cited the event as an important exercise in incident management, communication and control.
In closing remarks, one industry representative stated that he was happy to have participated and now felt better prepared to address these types of issues and to continue working with many partners in combating the citrus greening disease.
"This was an excellent opportunity for us to partner with our many stakeholders to discuss and address issues surrounding this disease," said Gene Garza, CBP Director, Office of Field Operations, Laredo, Texas. "We all learned a lot and this knowledge will certainly help us combat this crippling disease."U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.