Florida’s citrus industry plans to tackle devastating diseases and other challenging issues during the 2010 Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla., June 9-11.

Florida citrus meeting to focus on disease threats

While preregistrations for the sixth annual event remain strong, conference organizers in mid-May said participation was running a little lower than last year’s record 675 attendees.

More than 600 have registered for the event sponsored by Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual, said Andrew Meadows, citrus mutual’s director of communications.

“We have really been able to turn this into quite an event that everyone looks forward to,” he said. “It will be a fun, educational and informative event.”

The decline may be because of fewer spouse registrations following conflicts with some school district events, Meadows said.

New this year is a panel discussion on how growers can survive huanglongbing, also called HLB and citrus greening.

Mike Irey, of Southern Gardens Citrus Processing Corp., Clewiston, Fla., is set to lead a June 10 discussion on surviving the tree-killing disease.

Panel participants include grower Maury Boyd of Felda, Fla., Jerry Newlin, production manager of Orange-Co. LP, Arcadia, Fla., and Jackie Burns of the Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, Fla.

Other sessions focus on activities of the Florida Citrus Research and Development Foundation Inc., Lake Alfred, plus an update on water use regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Citrus mutual plans to elect new officers during its June 9 annual meeting.

Members of the Florida Citrus Commission, which oversee the Florida Department of Citrus, Bartow, also plan to meet on June 9.

Other industry groups have also scheduled meetings during the convention.

Citrus mutual plans a tribute to retiring Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson during a June 10 luncheon.