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Ag. Sect. Perdue pledges to help fight greening

Herald-Tribune – August 17, 2017

FORT MYERS – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue capped his visit with Southwest Florida Congressman Tom Rooney Wednesday by attending the Gulf Citrus Growers Citrus and Agriculture Industry Celebration with Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

Rooney called Perdue’s visit “extremely productive and beneficial for the Florida citrus industry as a whole.”

Perdue noted the urgency of the threat of citrus greening in Florida and made a commitment to growers that he would fight the fatal bacterial disease that has decimated the industry along with them. He said the Department of Agriculture will not impede projects that show promise moving forward, like genetically modified therapies, and that he will work with the Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate regulations that hinder progress on the deployment of effective therapies.

“Secretary Perdue met growers whose families have been in the Florida citrus industry for nearly a century,” said Rooney, whose district includes part of Sarasota County.

“Last night, he stressed the importance of sustaining Florida’s citrus industry so that the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth generations of growers thrive. I am grateful that the industry has a voice in the administration who recognizes that Washington should be a partner, not a hindrance, in paving the quickest and most effective path toward a cure,” he said in a news release Thursday.

Rooney and Perdue toured a grove affected by greening and also met vendors at the Florida Citrus Expo.

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