No back-room deals at the Citrus Research and Development Foundation while Rick Dantzler is in charge.
At least that’s what Dantzler, a lawyer-politician veteran of Florida’s political back-room deals for years, told the CRDF board of directors at its April 28 meeting.
Stung by intensifying criticism from Florida growers that he is favoring huge multinationals like Monsanto-Bayer, Dantzler insists he isn’t doing anything in secret to favor “the big guys over the little guys” in finding a solution for citrus greening disease.
Growers seem generally to agree that Dantzler has favored Monsanto-Bayer’s expensive solutions.
Many believe he deliberately has not approved funding scientific tests of inexpensive, off-the-shelf solutions that show potential to heal citrus plants or otherwise fight citrus greening.
“There’s just no way in the world we can test everybody’s product,” he told the board.
Dantzler says he feels ‘stung’ by criticism
“We are not making these decisions in back rooms, we are not playing favorites, we are not favoring the big guys over the little guys,” Dantzler said at the CRDF board meeting.
“We received a little bit of criticism in a newspaper in south Florida,” Dantzler said, making an apparent reference to a March op-ed in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“The criticism has stung a little bit,” he admitted.
Heaped with even more criticism before the board meeting for his favoritism toward Monsanto-Bayer’s GMO solutions – he said last December that his favored projects are “many, many years away” from being available to growers – Dantzler said that he was going to address critics in a column for Citrus Industry News.
Dantzler admits that CRDF’s approval process is not transparent
Dantzler appeared to admit at the board meeting that CRDF’s research approval process is opaque after 10 years in operation.
“I think it’s necessary for us to put in the public domain something related to these requests” of smaller companies, he said.
How would CRDF help smaller companies seeking to cure citrus greening? “We will offer to connect them with Bayer,” Dantzler said.
“I want to send the message out that CRDF” is “open to all comers, we certainly are,” he added.