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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #10-011
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Next meeting is set for March 3 in Bakersfield

SACRAMENTO, February 23, 2010 — California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary A.G. Kawamura has appointed Nick Hill as chairman, Craig Armstrong as vice chairman, and Richard Bennett as secretary/treasurer of the newly formed California Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee.

Hill is a diversified citrus grower with lemons, oranges and mandarins, and markets fruit through a variety of entities; he is a former chair of Citrus Mutual.  Armstrong is a diversified citrus producer growing mainly lemons and some tangerines, grapefruit and mandarins; he is a member of the Sunkist Board of Directors. Bennett is primarily a mandarin producer and also grows oranges in Tulare County; he is a former Tulare County Farm Bureau director.

These appointments confirm the nominations made by the committee at their inaugural meeting on January 20.  The new officers will lead the upcoming committee meeting on March 3 in Bakersfield.

The committee was authorized through AB 281, which was signed into law on October 9, 2009. The bill also authorizes the collection of a grower-paid assessment to help fund citrus pest and disease management programs.

The committee was created to advise Secretary Kawamura and the agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious pests and diseases that threaten the state’s citrus crop.  Most recently, for example, California’s citrus growers are confronting the arrival of the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny pest that can spread the fatal citrus disease huanglongbing.  Multiple detections of the pest have been confirmed in Southern California, although the disease has yet to be detected in the state.


The California Department of Food and Agriculture protects and promotes California’s agriculture.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814