Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla., is calling for a strong effort to save the U.S. citrus industry from the devastating citrus greening disease.

Putnam urged a Congressional panel April 22 to increase federal funding of efforts to preserve the U.S. citrus crop from the disease.

Putnam and 26 other representatives signed a letter calling for the House appropriations subcommittee on agriculture to spend $64 million to increase disease diagnosis and control methods.

“There are two components to this disease: The disease itself and the insect that spreads it,” Putnam said in a news release.  “In California, they have the insect, but not the disease. In Florida we have both, and it’s been disastrous.”

Spread the Asian citrus psyllid, Huanglongbing or citrus greening disease has destroyed Florida groves in several seasons. The insect has also been found in California, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

Putnam the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Citrus Health Response Program has allocated $35.3 million in the effort. He said the increased funding maintains broad bipartisan support among Florida, California and Gulf Coast region congressional representatives.

The funding would help a coordinated national program fight greening through expanding pest detection, surveillance, mitigation and suppression, Putnam said.

Putnam is a four-term Bartow, Fla., congressman and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee. In February, he announced his candidacy for the Florida Agriculture Commissioners post.