(March 24, 12:48 p.m.) The Florida Department of Citrus plans to use some big guns in the industry’s fight against citrus canker and citrus greening.

At a March 19 board meeting, members of the Florida Citrus Commission, which governs the department, signed a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to fight those diseases.

According to the Lakeland Ledger, the commission approved a two-year, $745,400 contract with the academy.

The agency’s contract has the prestigious scientific organization assembling leading scientific advisors to work with the department’s citrus scientists in finding an effective and efficient way of eliminating the destructive diseases.

Ken Keck, the agency’s executive director, in a news release said guidance from the academy’s scientists would help all citrus industry stakeholders fight plant diseases.