Who We Are

Since its founding in 1948, the Citrus Center has proudly dedicated itself to advancing the citrus industry of Texas through groundbreaking research and education initiatives. Over the decades, we have cultivated fruitful partnerships with citrus growers, industry pioneers, agricultural entities, and esteemed colleagues in academia and government agencies at both the state and federal levels.

As we celebrate 76 years of progress and innovation, we embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with unwavering enthusiasm. With a steadfast commitment to excellence and a spirit of collaboration, we eagerly anticipate the next chapter in our journey, confident in our ability to continue making significant contributions to the citrus industry for generations to come.

Our Mission

Dedicated to serving the citrus industry of Texas, the Citrus Center is at the forefront of conducting both basic and applied research, pioneering innovative solutions that empower the industry to thrive in an ever-evolving global marketplace. By leveraging cutting-edge research methodologies and technologies, the Citrus Center remains committed to ensuring the continued competitiveness of Texas citrus growers.

Moreover, the Citrus Center serves as a beacon of scientific excellence, nurturing talent and fostering capacity building within the industry. By integrating undergraduate and graduate student training into its research programs, the Center not only advances scientific knowledge but also cultivates a new generation of highly skilled professionals poised to drive innovation and sustainability in the citrus sector.

Our History

The Citrus Center traces its roots back to the mid-1940s when a visionary group of local citizens and citrus growers collaborated with the then-Texas College of Arts & Industries in Kingsville to establish a pioneering research and training facility dedicated to citriculture in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Through the generous support of the citrus industry and community institutions, the Citrus Center campus and research farm sites were acquired, marking the beginning of a transformative journey.

In 1948, the Citrus Center commenced operations, utilizing buildings obtained from the decommissioned Harlingen Air Base. The expansion of the Center's facilities continued in the 1960s with the addition of the 200-acre South Research Farm, made possible through the assistance of the Jones-Collier Foundation.

Further bolstering its research capabilities, the Citrus Center acquired two parcels of land adjacent to the South Research Farm in Hidalgo County in the 1970s. With the aid of low-interest loans from the Valley Agricultural Research and Development Corporation, the Center expanded its research resources, repaying the loans through income generated by orchard management and cultivation activities on the properties.

In a testament to its growth and evolution, the Citrus Center maintained a leased 40-acre farm north of Mission from 1984 to 2004, courtesy of the Looney family. Today, the Center continues its commitment to excellence by operating a 50-acre farm in Monte Alto, leased from Rio Farms Inc., ensuring the continuity of its vital research and educational endeavors.