THE FUTURE AT FARMER BOB’S WORLD IS BRIGHT
Learn About Our Future Exhibit
OUR FUTURE EXHIBIT
When you donate to Farmer Bob’s World, you’re helping to bring our new interactive exhibit to life. We hope to open the new exhibit soon, but until then, scroll down to take a look at some of the key features we’ll be highlighting.
The California Citrus industry is a billion dollar business that has wide ranging impacts locally and worldwide. About 30% of the citrus crop is exported to countries all over the word, including Japan, S. Korea, China , Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. This greatly helps our national trade deficit and our local economies by bringing in new dollars as well as helping to feed the world.
For decades citrus growers have precisely metered exact amounts of water in their orchards by using drip and micro-sprinkler technologies. Citrus trees are one of the most efficient trees at converting water to food. Did you know it takes 15 gallons of water to produce one orange. In comparison, it takes over 600 gallons to produce one cheeseburger.
The citrus industry has for over 100 years used integrated pest management, which is using Mother Nature’s help by enlisting the good bugs to control our problem pests.
Examples would include using vedalia beetles to control cottony cushion scale and apyhtis melinus to control red scale. The industry is also using mating disruption techniques and extensive field monitoring to help have a soft impact on the environment. Pest control has dramatically change over the last 80 years using science instead of high impact chemicals.
Citrus trees can have a long life. There are trees still producing that are over 140 years old . We have some minor virus and bacterial diseases that we have managed and controlled. We do have a relatively new virus, Huanglongbing, or more commonly known as citrus greening disease. This disease is carried by a small fly-like insect that bites the tree and transmits the virus. There is no known cure for the virus at this time, and the trees, once infected, will die relatively quickly. This disease has been very problematic for Florida citrus growers and has reduced their production by 50%. In California, the industry has geared up to closely monitor the vectoring insect and the virus. We have also embarked on a consumer education program to help prevent the disease from spreading in backyard trees. The California Research Board, funded primarily by California citrus growers, invests over $16.5 million dollars annually into research of pests, diseases, varieties and other aspects of the industry.
We use large fans out in the field to help keep the citrus warm in the wintertime. Temperatures below 30 degrees can damage the juice cells inside the fruit. We have moved away from using small smudge pots burning fossil fuels to these 35 foot towers with a fan to bring the warmer air that collects above the orchards down to tree level.
Every piece of citrus has to be individually clipped to keep that button on top of the fruit in place. We use highly skilled employees who climb the trees with heavy bags of fruit. Without this hardworking group of employees, our industry would not exist. There have been attempts to try mechanical harvesting, but nothing has been developed to replace the human touch. It is common for the fruit to be harvested one day, packed in boxes the next, and shipped the following days to consumers. From the field, the fruit is transported to a packing house where is it cleaned, sorted, packed, and prepared for shipping to locations throughout the world.
The industry is constantly looking for the next best variety to satisfy our consumers. We have extensive breeding programs to develop new tastes and also develop disease resistant trees. Fairly recent developments have included the Cara Cara navel and the Tango mandarin. Sometimes, Mother Nature gives us a new variety by spontaneously changing the characteristics of the fruit on an individual limb. As citrus growers, we are constantly looking at the trees for changes that Mother Nature gives us.