ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The federal government is waging war against citrus greening disease, which threatens to devastate Florida's orange crop and could affect the entire nation.
The Agriculture Department will announce Thursday that it's creating an "emergency response framework" to battle citrus greening. It will gather groups, agencies and experts to coordinate and focus federal research on the disease.
Citrus greening is spread by insects. It causes a tree to produce green, disfigured and bitter fruits by altering the tree's nutrient flow. Eventually it kills the tree. The disease threatens Florida's $9 billion citrus industry.
The new USDA group will help coordinate and prioritize federal research with industry's efforts to combat the disease.
The USDA will also launch a new section on its website about greening that will serve as an information clearinghouse.