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Lone Star Growers in the middle of seventh successful citrus season

Lone Star Citrus Growers in Mission, TX, is well-prepared for growing in the Lone Star State. Record drought is a threat to many producers, but Lone Star has its water rights secured at least through next season. And the discovery of a backyard citrus tree infected with citrus greening disease — the second outbreak in the Rio Grande Valley in two years — is cause for concern but not for alarm with the Valley’s growers coordinating spraying for the psyllid that spreads the disease.

“When you look at this crop that’s hanging on the trees right now you would never know we were in a drought,” said partner and Vice President of Sales Trent Bishop. “Water is a bigger issue in Texas than most people realize. On everything that’s company owned, we have installed micro-jet irrigation. This is just one way that we are doing our part to make sure we spread our water allocations as far as they can go. We have a very clear-cut water plan in place to make sure that we’re planning for the future as far out as we can. We realize that in order to have next year’s crop, we have to have water for next year’s crop. As such, there are already plans in place to make sure not only that we have a crop this year but that we’ve got a crop next year as well.”

And the fact that the latest greening finding, which occurred in October, was in a backyard citrus tree is testament to the fact that Texas’ controls are working after the original discovery in January 2012.

Lone-Star-1Trent Bishop, Jud Flowers and TJ Flowers of Lone Star Citrus at their booth at PMA’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October. (Photo by Chip Carter)“The fact that we are inspecting more than ever and have not had another [commercial] occurrence in a year and a half should be a testament to the programs that we have in place. I am very grateful for the professionals within the Texas A&M University system and our industry in general who are out there daily monitoring and educating the public. Their results are speaking for themselves,” Bishop said. “That’s not to say we’re in the clear by any means, but the fact that they have been able to fend it off and combat it like they have is a true testament to their hard work and expertise.”

Lone Star is showing off a new logo and revamped website, and has added new for the busy citrus season underway.

“We’re a growing company,” said “We’re investing in new technology and opening up another production component in the packing plant, all automated. We’re adding a new bagger and we’ve also brought in two soft-touch packing machines that will bulk-pack grapefruit and oranges. With our expected growth this year we needed to make sure we had the added production capacity to keep up so we’ve reinvested in some equipment to increase our production.”

With the logo and website update, “We wanted to make sure we were keeping our image relevant. We wanted to make sure our website is informative and drive traffic with content about our company as well as information about our industry,” Bishop said. “It’s our intention going forward to do a series of videos that will educate the citrus buying public with exactly what goes into the process of harvesting, packing and shipping Texas citrus. Over time, we want this website to be a true resource for anybody who wants to know anything about Texas citrus.”