John McDonald

: National Biosecurity Manager

John McDonald, National Biosecurity Manager, has more than 28 years’ experience in production horticulture including state based nursery production industry development and managing the national portfolios of biosecurity and pesticide minor use.  John is currently managing the national nursery industry biosecurity program that includes on-farm biosecurity, industry biosecurity preparedness and awareness plus the minor use pesticide program. 

John has spent the past 9 years developing BioSecure HACCP as an on-farm integrated crop management system and has gained national agreement for BioSecure HACCP as a legal market access program for domestic nursery stock movement across Australia.



Fred G. Gmitter Jr.

: Professor in Citrus Genetics

: UF-Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida

Fred Gmitter is a UF Research Foundation Professor in Citrus Genetics, working at the UF-Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida since 1985. He has a B.A in English Literature and an M.S. in Horticultural Sciences both from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. from UF also in Horticultural Sciences.

Together with Drs. Bill Castle and Jude Grosser, he has released more than 30 citrus scion and rootstock cultivars in the last 10 years, several of which are now being commercialized in Florida. His career focus has been on citrus cultivar development and release, as well as more fundamental genetic and genomic studies to understand the control of economically important traits and to improve breeding efficiency. He has published more than 100 manuscripts in internationally recognized scientific journals, numerous book chapters, as well as articles in the popular citrus industry press. He served as the Leader of the International Citrus Genome Consortium and led the international effort in producing and making publicly and freely available to the global citrus research community the first citrus genome sequences in 2011, from diploid sweet orange and from a haploid plant derived from Clementine mandarin.

These genome sequence resources have been utilized since then by countless citrus and other plant researchers studying disease resistance, plant physiology, fruit quality, entomology, taxonomy, evolution and phylogeny, and various other scientific disciplines. He has traveled widely to many of the citrus producing regions of the world, with an interest in understanding the many aspects of citrus production and marketing in addition to the breeding and genetics programs underway. Current research projects include work on developing selectable markers for important traits, consumer-driven breeding, understanding underlying mechanisms of HLB tolerance, and developing HLB-resistant cultivars through unconventional approaches.      

John Chavarria

: Nova Fruits


John Chavarria began his career as an international consultant in 1998, supplying Spanish clementines to the US market, through DNE World Fruit Slaes, and managed operartions as an employee and consultant for the export company Mildura Fruit Company for 20 years, complering two seasons a year from the northern and southern hemispheres.

John now has his own company Nova Fruits. He has international experience having consulted in Spain, Mexico, China, South Africa and the USA in all aspects of citrus including growing, packing and marketing. He completed a Masters in Citrus from the University of Valencia, Spain.