TIFTON — What began as a Georgia Citrus Association (GCA) membership of 27 in October of 2016 exponentially grew to more than 275 attendees at its meeting in Tifton, GA Monday.

Throughout the day, attendees heard from speakers, met with exhibitors, had lunch and participated in two grove tours.

According to Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association, the mission of the GCA is to promote the citrus industry in Georgia and surrounding states; build a network of citrus enthusiasts for the exchange of information and ideas; encourage ongoing research; educate its membership about citrus industry quality standards; and develop an aggressive marketing campaign for all growers.

Savelle said the GCA will help both the small grower and the large ones.

“We are working on marketing mechanisms and standards wherein a grower with just a few trees or a producer with thousands of trees will have avenues to sell their citrus very easily,” said Savelle. “Half the problem is making sure we have a place to go with all the fruit that will be coming off in about three to four years. We are starting now to make sure things are streamlined such that we will be ready down the road.

“We are working with and seeking assistance from Georgia Development Authorities, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Department of Education/School Nutrition Programs, and many others to prepare for where the industry could be in five years. It’s amazing how experts in the industry are coming out to support and help Georgia develop its citrus industry.”

Mack Glass, a Satsuma producer in Marianna, Fl. spoke about the practical aspects of growing citrus.

Travis Murphy, a long time citrus producer, spoke about diversifying citrus products and not just planting Satsumas but also planting other citrus.

Dr. Hanna, a long time Tifton resident, former USDA agronomist and current UGA plant breeder talked about UGA’s recently released patented seedless varieties of tangerines, lemons and grapefruit which will be propagated by 1 DOG Ventures LLC and sold beginning in 2018.

He also talked about UGA’s “cowboy” perennial peanut.

Dr. Lawrence Marais talked about the principles of fertilization

Seald Sweet and Highland Precision Ag made presentations about crop care and working with a sales/marketing company.

Mike Evans, with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, talked about what is to come in the area of rules, requirements and regulations.

Lunch was catered by Walker’s BBQ.

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