Arizona Horizon Banner

March 3, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

Asian Citrus Psyllid

  |   Video
  • The Asian Citrus Psyllid has been found in Arizona. It’s a pest that causes citrus tree leaves to turn yellow and ruins the fruit of the tree. Although greening disease caused by the bug has not been found here, agricultural officials are worried about the damage it could do to our $37 million citrus industry. John Caravetta, assistant director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, will talk about the citrus psyllid.
  • John Caravetta - Assistant Director, Arizona Department of Agriculture
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: environment, fruit, asian, citrus, psyllid, agriculture, industry, bug, arizona,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. State agricultural officials are worried about an insect that poses a serious threat to Arizona's $37 million citrus industry. Here to talk about the "Asian Citrus Psyllid" is John Caravetta, assistant director of the Arizona department of agriculture. Good to see you then and thanks for joining us.

John Caravetta: You, too. Thank you.

Ted Simons: We talked about this a year or so ago, and so far everything was kind of -- it's still out there, isn't it?

John Caravetta: It is, and actually, it became a bigger be pro in the southwest part of the state this last fall when the population of this insect exploded. And got ahead of our ability to go ahead and treat it, and try to keep it completely eradicated or suppressed.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about this "Asian Citrus Psyllid." How big is this? Can you see it? Does it fly around? What are we talking about?

John Caravetta: Well, it's about the size of a tip of a ball-point pen, so it's very difficult to see with a naked eye. If you are looking for one, but, in a tree where there may be multiples of these, you could see them because they will, they will jump around off the tree, and you can physically see them move around. And so, it's very easy to see once you have a population that's really large, and it takes quite a few of them to do that.

Ted Simons: So they are not buzzing around so much as hanging and jumping and bouncing around?

John Caravetta: They are kind of quiet, but their numbers are evident. They fly around like gnats when you start to see them in a tree.

Ted Simons: And there we see, there is a thumb, that's a small insect, isn't it?

John Caravetta: They are, and they are always perched at that angle like that, with their heads down towards the leaf to feed, and their back sides are up in the air, so a little easier to see that way.

Ted Simons: So, where did this insect come from? What's the story behind this thing?

John Caravetta: It's come from, from Asia, is one type of this particular pest. The other type is, has come from Africa, and it depends on, on where, where you are located in the globe as to what type you have, and we have the Asian variety here.

Ted Simons: How did it get here?

John Caravetta: That's a good question. With the global economy that we have, and the trade, that's one opportunity. The other opportunity is through the Caribbean and areas where they did establish and through hurricanes, a great way to spread them as well --

Ted Simons: Oh, my goon.

John Caravetta: So mother nature helps out in that regard a lot of times.

Ted Simons: They can blow around that much in the wind, huh? That far, too?

John Caravetta: They can, actually, with good prevailing winds, and they are pretty good flyers but they can be helped along with these winds.

Ted Simons: So how do you know if, obviously, if you see it, you know it's there, but if you don't see it, how do you know that, that the citrus tree is infected?

John Caravetta: You will know if a citrus tree is infected with the citrus greening disease, essentially, when the tree starts to absolutely decline. The fruit starts to look gnarly and has a very bitter cough syrup-like taste to it. You will have some indication that that could be one cause. Now, the disease does not occur here in Arizona, so it won't be anything that anyone would see commonly. But there is a lot of other diseases and insect damage, particularly this time of year, that may mimic the symptoms that we're looking at when we are talking about citrus greening disease, which is spread by the "Asian Citrus Psyllid."

Ted Simons: It sounds like Yuma county, and we have seen it in Lake Havasu? We have seen it all up the west side of the state, and the river cities. We have seen "Asian Citrus Psyllid." We have yet to find them in central Arizona, and also, we have yet to find the disease here in Arizona, as well.

Ted Simons: And is there a quarantine in effect anywhere?

John Caravetta: The quarantine remains in effect in most of Yuma Ccounty, and in Mohave County and parts of La Paz County, as well, where the residents are restricted from moving fruits from their backyards and moving citrus trees out of those quarantine areas to areas, let's say, in central, central Arizona where we don't have them. They are precluded from moving those.

Ted Simons: So, those of us here in central Arizona, with backyard citrus, be it tangerines, lemons, limes, whatever, should we be worried or on the watchout? What do we do?

John Caravetta: I think it's always good if you really want to preserve that tree in your landscape, and you enjoy that Production from it, that you consider the trees' health in any situation. So, keeping up with its nutritional demands, working with your nursery or local extension office, on how to, to care for your citrus trees, is very appropriate. And they are very much in tune with what are appropriate treatments to deal with some of these insects that plague citrus to begin with, which also, would have an effect on controlling agent citrus should we have a problem here in central Arizona.

Ted Simons: That’s a good point. If, if your trees for whatever reason are not looking too hard, maybe it looks bad here or green there, are they more susceptible to something like this?

John Caravetta: The weaker, less healthy tree is always more susceptible to further damage, whether it be from the Bees or insects. It's very important that if you see something like that, you contact either the state department of agriculture, or your local county extension, or even your nursery, with a picture or a call and say that you have a problem, that you would like someone to look at.

John Caravetta: Should we be weary of citrus plants that we see at, at, you know, everything from Home Depot to some of the, some of the private nurseries, the independent nurseries here around town? Obviously, some of these things are grown here in Arizona, and some aren't. They come in from California. A bit worried about that?

John Caravetta: Absolutely not. It's a very highly regulated industry, and if you do purchase it from those outlets, you are buying product that's clean, and that has been, has been verified that it doesn't present a problem to the homeowners, it's going to go and plant it and receive it. The bigger challenge, make sure that you get instructions on how to care for it properly so you can enjoy it in the landscape.

Ted Simons: And we keep talking about backyard citrus. Some of us have a lot of them in our yards but the industry as a whole, how important -- citrus is one of the five Cs. And is it still one of the big guests here in Arizona?

John Caravetta: It is a big one. It has more potential than, than what we see out there in the industry currently, if it's about -- $37 million in sales, is what it represents, as far as an economic impact to Arizona, as well as the impact on the communities, where commercial citrus is produced, and the employment opportunities that are presented there, and the value of citrus, not only to, to the five C's, but also to the communities, as well.

Ted Simons: Is the citrus industry growing in Arizona? With all of the land development, it seems like a lot of these areas where the trees used to grow, are not growing any more.

John Caravetta: And we have seen a decline in the number of citrus acres in the state. And generally, that is partly because of land redevelopment, and reuse of, of land that was originally in those citrus groves. But, also, we see changeover in the industry, as well, as they move towards new varieties, perhaps, that, that may be more marketable or more attractive to consumers, or may present other export opportunities, as well. Those were all opportunities that we have in our state.

Ted Simons: So, last question, how serious at this point is this to Arizona citrus growers?

John Caravetta: It is absolutely exceptionally a serious situation with the, the population that we have and the efforts that we're trying to do to contain it and we need the public's involvement not to move the citrus or the plants, unless they get them from the outlets that you mentioned, and that will keep Arizona citrus healthy, not only for the commercial citrus industry, but for the homeowner, as well.

Ted Simons: All right, good information, and good to have you here. Thanks.

John Caravetta: Thank you, Ted.

AZ Giving and Leading: Higher Octave Healing

  |   Video
  • The therapists at Higher Octave Healing know that music not only touches people, but can help heal them. This non-profit provides a variety of music therapy for Arizona children, teens and adults. We’ll introduce you to members of Higher Octave’s rock band and learn how music is making a difference in their lives.
Category: Giving/Leading   |   Keywords: giving, leading, octave, children, teen, adults, therapist, healing, music,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of Arizona giving in leading looks at the power of music which can make a smile or relax or give us energy. Producer Christina Estes and photographer Steven Snow show us how a group in Tempe is making music that does all of the above and more.

Kristen Turner: I work with kids with developmental disabilities. That encompasses like autism, that's a big one, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy.

Christina Estes: That includes Katie Griffith.

Kristen Turner: She has cerebral palsy, so one of her hands is clinched so to work on opening up and using fine motor with her fingers we have her do little plunking on the keyboard.

Christina Estes: After working with Kristin for two years, Katie has opened up more than her hands.

Katie Griffith: Yes, I used, used to be like a shy person, and it was hard for me to vocalize my opinions. And since I've been with Kristin, I've been able to be a stronger person and vocalize my opinions and feelings more.

Christina Estes: She is among 300 clients who take part in weekly sessions with Higher Octave Healing.

Kymla Eubanks: We know that we are making a difference by the smiles on the faces when we are finished. We know we are making a difference on paper because all of our board certified music therapists track goals assessed by the team, families, and sometimes, the clients themselves.

Katie Griffith: Because I have some kind of anxiety disorder, it helps to relax me and makes me feel better about myself.

Christina Estes: But relaxing is not the only benefit. Meet the members of the rock band, Spice it Up. Ricky’s on keyboard. Caleb is on drums, and Yaya handles vocals.

Yaya: It's excitement for me.

Christina Estes: Do you worry about messing up or no?

Yaya: No.

Christina Estes: How come?

Yaya: I don't do stage fright.

Christina Estes: At this session they do a little Metallica, and one of Yaya's favorite songs by The Cockroaches. Interns, volunteers and staffers lend helping hands.

Kymla Eubanks: So when I was ten and learning to play French horn, when I first played that horn, it did not sound great. I had to really work on those skills. And so they are working on those skills to play the instruments. The amazing thing is if that's not the ultimate goal for us. The ultimate goal is that rock band members are able to have opportunities to socialize with peers, to communicate with peers, to do teamwork together.

Christina Estes: They socialize before practice with a game of hot potato. Whoever catches the potato, answers the question.

Voice: You are going to a party? A friend's party?

Caleb: Yes.

Kristen Turner: It's rewarding. It's -- I get to use music, which is a passion of mine to help other people. And, and that's all I can ask for.

Katie Griffith: This is probably one of the best therapies that are out there and, and, and they show compassion and really care for people with disabilities, and really try to help them in the best way possible.

Christina Estes: Whether that's a piano duet or a group jam session.

Ted Simons: The Spice it Up band performed at the Higher Octave Healing fundraiser. And you can find out more at their website at

NAFTA 20 Year Anniversary

  |   Video
  • It’s been 20 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement was put into place. It was designed to eliminate investment and trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada. An international conference will be held at Arizona State University in March regarding NAFTA. Jonathan Koppell, Dean of ASU’s College of Public Programs, will discuss how the trade agreement has impacted Arizona and the three countries it covers.
  • Jonathan Koppell - Dean, Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: business, economy, trade, nafta, anniversary, countries, agreement,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect 20 years ago as a way to eliminate investment and trade barriers between the United States, Mexico and Canada. An international conference examining the impact of NAFTA will be held later this month at ASU, and joining us now is Jonathan Koppell, Dean of ASU’s College of Public Programs. Good to see you again and thanks for joining us.

Jonathan Koppell: Thank you for having me, Ted.

Ted Simons: Before we get too deeply into this let's get some definitions, what is NAFTA?

Jonathan Koppell: Well, I think most people are familiar with NAFTA, which passed 20 years ago. The idea was to create a free trade zone between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. As you remember and was a controversial, a controversial move at the time, and the goal was to create are month flow of goods and services in North America.

Ted Simons: Have we seen a better flow of goods and services a, and b, have we seen some of the fears that were expressed 20 years ago realized?

Jonathan Koppell: Absolutely. There is, there has clearly been a dramatic increase in trade amongst the three countries. The question of, whether the fears have been realized is a difficult one to answer. You will recall Ross Perot talking about the giant sucking sound --

Ted Simons: Indeed.

Jonathan Koppell: From the south. That hasn't been realized in nearly the dramatic fashion that was envisioned. There has been some loss of jobs in the United States in that period. There's also been a gain of jobs. So it's very hard to figure out what the cause and effect is. There's been other things besides NAFTA in the last 20 years ago. Information technology, trade in other parts of the world and so on. It's a difficult thing to parse out.

Ted Simons: Is there a net loss of jobs and companies since the early 90's?

Jonathan Koppell: To Mexico?

Ted Simons: In the United States.

Jonathan Koppell: I think certain sectors have lost jobs. It's hard to pin NAFTA as the villain. Our trade with China and other parts of the world have dramatically increased in that period of time.

Ted Simons: So this border conference here, what exactly is the goal? What are you going to be talking about?

Jonathan Koppell: So, basically, the question is to assess NAFTA 20 years after the fact and say, what's worked and what hasn't? Ask some of the questions that you have asked. And ask some of the questions that are even really more practical. What's standing in the way of this working better? That is to say, I don't think anyone says we're turning the clock back. The question is what can make this work better.

Ted Simons: It seems like improving border access, talk to us about that, and how that has changed since NAFTA was implemented.

Jonathan Koppell: So, as you can imagine, the, as the increase in the flow of goods increased between the countries, the border access points have become stressed, so the question of how well our Arizona economy does in a NAFTA world has a lot to do with the efficiency of our border, and literally the logistics of moving stuff across a border. In the post-9/11 world, obviously, security becomes a greater concern, which creates another logistical hurdle. Among the issues we'll be talking about at the trilateral borders conference, it is March 17 and 18 at the Heard Museum, and you can get more information at We'll be dealing with the practical considerations of better operating our border crossings, so that Arizona is getting its fair share of the trade with Mexico.

Ted Simons: Ok, and the immigration issue, the impact of immigration concerns on border access between the U.S. and Mexico, let's keep it between those two.

Jonathan Koppell: Right.

Ted Simons: Show down the process here? Speed bumps? What do you think?

Jonathan Koppell: I think that it creates complexity. You have to factor in border security when you are trying to, to speed the flow of goods and services. So, that does put the onerous on us to combine security and efficiency, and what we have seen is that this trade volume is key for Arizona. It's vital to, to the success of our state in the future, and right now to be honest, we have to pay catchup with states like Texas, which have invested heavily in infrastructure, and are consuming a larger share of the volume between the United States and Mexico.

Ted Simons: It sounds like Mexico has to play catchup, as well. The foreign investment in Mexico, and I was looking at this, the foreign investment in the U.S., $166 billion. Canada, $326 billion. And Mexico, it's only $13 billion. How do you get more foreign investment in Mexico?

Jonathan Koppell: Among other things, you invest in infrastructure in Mexico, which is exactly what they are doing. So, they are significantly increasing the infrastructure capacity in part, increasing their access to the United States. So, as I mentioned, with respect to Texas, they are building highways right now, their new infrastructure is all pointing at Texas. We need to, to get it pointed, to get it pointed at Arizona.

Ted Simons: And because, because aerospace looks like it could be a factor, between Arizona and, and Mexico. You have the oil industry, it seems like that's state run, so you don't know how sluggish that's going on. Can those things be freed up a bit so that again, that foreign investment in Mexico, if Mexico is a dynamo in, an economic dynamo, it has to help Arizona.

Jonathan Koppell: Absolutely. So, you hinted at the things that people are excited about in this relationship. That there is going to be greater trade liberalization, sorry, domestic liberalization, and that only amplifies the opportunity for Arizona businesses to export to Mexico. And Arizona exports have grown a lot in this NAFTA period from about $3 billion in 1996 to about $8.5 billion in 2012, and it's probably higher in 2013. Disproportionately, the growth in Arizona's exports is to Mexico and Canada.

Ted Simons: Yeah.

Jonathan Koppell: So, we are going to benefit as, as a Canadian economy grows and the Mexican economy grows, that's only going to help Arizona.

Ted Simons: And, and I noticed that a trans-Pacific trade deal could be in the works between NAFTA and, obviously, Pacific rim countries, and talk about the impact of something like that.

Jonathan Koppell: So, that, in some sense, that's the NAFTA 2.0, if you will, the trans-Pacific trade agreement, which would add a series of Pacific rim countries to, essentially, to NAFTA. That will open further the horizons for Arizona's trade.

Ted Simons: You mentioned Texas and the fact that we're behind the curve here. What -- if I'm a lawmaker, what do you tell me is going on in Mexico that I need to be aware of and that we can do better because of NAFTA is not going anywhere? How do we take better advantage of this agreement?

Jonathan Koppell: So Arizonans understand this, so our Morrison Institute did a study and asked Arizonans what they thought of international trade in the future of Arizona. Sixty percent said our capacity as a state to engage in international trade was critical to the state's future. So the question is what do we do as a result? And I think that part of it is the infrastructure that we already talked about. Part of it is making our businesses globally competitive. That does have to do with education and upgrading our facilities and our communications infrastructure and our technology infrastructure, and basically, creating a global mind set in Arizona. Many of our legislators and business leaders and our local elected officials have been eagerly reaching out to Mexico and Canada trying to build this relationship, so I think that, that Arizonans get it.

Ted Simons: All right, well, good stuff and good luck with that conference. We'll see you March 17 and 18.

Ted Simons: Got it in there, thanks.

Jonathan Koppell: Very good.