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Citrus Greening Disease Causing Increased Produce Inspections

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Posted: Feb 29, 2012 3:36 PM

Updated: Feb 29, 2012 3:41 PM

Experts continue to survey Valley citrus crops for citrus greening disease.

The quarantine was first issued in January, extending into March. A 5-mile radius centered on San Juan is affected. Experts are now working with plant nurseries to develop shipment rules for citrus trees.

The state says the process of controlling the citrus greening disease is a long one. The citrus available for purchase is safe.

That bacterial disease is affecting the inspection process at our border bridges. The USDA is boosting its produce inspections now.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples was in the Valley Wednesday morning. Staples says Customs and Border Protection recently changed its inspection system. If a border crosser is deemed a low risk, they now undergo fewer inspections by the feds.

Staples says farmers are now calling for a greater number of inspections after the detection of citrus greening. As a result, inspection officers with Customs and the USDA are stepping up their game.

"Even if it's for a short period of time to get results and know really what's going on, we think there needs to be a tremendous amount of increased scrutiny right now," says Staples.

Other things, like boll weevils and fever ticks, can also be controlled through border bridge inspections. No word on how long the increased inspections will last.

Topics: Agriculture, commissioner, todd staples, citrus greening, disease, quarantine, border, inspections

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