Huanglongbing and the California Citrus Industry: A Cost Comparison of Do Nothing vs. Do Something Management Practices
The disease Huanglongbing (HLB) was first discovered in the United States in Florida in 2005. Since its discovery, HLB has not only decreased citrus production, but has drastically increased production costs. With California contributing over 80% of the nation’s fresh oranges, it is important to attempt to keep HLB from becoming endemic in this state. This study examines two alternative management practices and estimates the potential total loss in production value over a 20-year period due to HLB in the California citrus industry. The total loss is estimated to be $2.7 billion under a do-nothing approach and $2.2 billion under an aggressive mitigation approach. This suggests that limiting the spread of HLB is the preferred management approach. It not only results in total damage savings of $2,803 per acre over the do-nothing approach, but also protects the California citrus industry from HLB and promotes economic growth.