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TexaSweet Citrus marketing starts 2013-14 citrus season with new mission, focus

As the Texas citrus season is getting under way, TexaSweet Citrus Marketing Inc. has a new mission and program focus.

For the 2013-14 season, TexaSweet has been charged with educating Rio Grande Valley residents about the threat of citrus greening disease and its implications on the future of the Texas citrus crop. The Texas citrus industry contributes approximately $200 million to the region's economy and a significant number of jobs.

Recently, the Texas Department of Agriculture enacted a five-mile radius quarantine surrounding the detection of a tree testing positive for citrus greening disease in Mission, TX, marking the second quarantine in South Texas.

TexaSweet's marketing program for citrus greening will include a variety of outreach avenues to valley residents, nurseries, small growers and local media. A unique message has been carefully constructed to grab the public's attention and provide a call for action.

TexaSweet has designed new materials to assist in their outreach efforts, which include all-region and quarantine specific direct mail postcards, informative flyers and brochures, and unique door hangers. All materials feature the citrus greening message in both English and Spanish. Website banner ads have been designed for use on both Google and Facebook. In addition, media alerts to be used on local radio and television stations have been developed.

TexaSweet is working to engage valley residents and educate them about the important role they have to play in this battle.

"Every citrus tree owner in the Rio Grande Valley needs to be aware of this disease, educated on the symptoms and informed on how to report suspect trees," Eleisha Ensign, TexaSweet's executive director, said in a statement. "Valley citrus is vital to our economy and heritage. The industry is doing everything that it can to slow the spread of this disease, and our goal is to educate and mobilize residents to help in this fight against citrus greening. We accept this challenge given by the industry and are diligently working to help save our citrus trees."