For the 2013-14 season, Mission-based TexaSweet Citrus Marketing Inc., has placed a large focus on educating Rio Grande Valley residents about the threat of citrus greening disease, according to Eleisha Ensign, executive director.

“The growers and shippers decided that it was best to redirect TexaSweet’s marketing and promotional efforts to helping save the Texas citrus industry from this potentially devastating disease,” Ensign said.

To do this, TexaSweet has developed a multitiered promotional program to target residents with citrus trees.

They want the public to be aware of the disease, but also to know what to look for how to report a problem if they see symptoms.

The highlights of this program include media outreach through TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and other outlets, as well as a direct mail program to reach targeted, high-risk areas, Ensign said.

The organization also will appear at local outreach events and distribute educational promotional materials. Social media outreach efforts are also underway.

In addition to the citrus greening awareness program, TexaSweet is also working on a school outreach across Texas to teach elementary age students about the state fruit of Texas.

“TexaSweet received a specialty block grant for this program, and we are excited to teach Texas children about the nutritional benefits of Texas grapefruit — how to prepare healthy snacks with it and our grove-to-plate story,” Ensign said.

The program also includes a blogger and media workshop element to reach parents and educate them on how to include grapefruit in meal plans.