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For a fun-filled year I worked as a program coordinator for the Clean Plant Network (CPN).
The program focuses on testing and cleaning up viruses out of fruit trees, hops and wine grapes. Sexy, huh! Well, actually, it is… in an economic impact kind of way.
Let’s say a grower plants a couple hundred acres of new apple trees. It’s going to take five years for those trees to get big enough to produce apples. After the five years the grower goes out to harvest but finds out his apple trees have a virus the impacts the taste and the look of the apple. Goodbye apples!
But we’ve just started with the economic impact. The grower has to bulldoze the virus infected trees out, comb through the soil to pull out any remaining root that can spread the virus to new trees. Then they use chemicals to clean out any leftover virus in the soil. In some cases, the soil has to sit dormant before new trees can be planted.
The grower has lost time and money. And it’s going to take more time and money to get that orchard planted and producing again. (This time, hopefully, with “clean,” virus-free trees.)