BARTOW, Fla. – The Florida Department of Citrus presented a preliminary budget for 2015-16 on an estimate of 90 million boxes of oranges and 11.8 million boxes of grapefruit next season.

Presented to the Florida Citrus Commission Wednesday, the Department’s total proposed budget is $34.3 million with $10.7 million dedicated to public relations, $6.4 million toward retail marketing and $6.9 million for international marketing. Commissioners responded favorably to the proposal but suggested a more conservative forecast of 85 million boxes of oranges.

The Department is funded by a tax paid by Florida growers on each box of citrus produced.

The proposed budget returns the assessment rate of processed oranges to 2013-14 levels, at $.23 per box.  Grapefruit and fresh specialty assessment rates remain unchanged from the current season while processed specialty rates decrease from $.16 to $.07 per box.

“We are comfortable with the Commission’s more conservative crop estimate and will advance a budget for 2015-16 that allocates grower dollars in a way that allows us to promote and market Florida Citrus in the most effective and efficient way possible,” said Doug Ackerman, executive director of the FDOC.

The preliminary proposed budget also includes $2.5 million for scientific research, which includes $500,000 for new varieties development, and $4.8 million for economic and marketing research. The proposal made no assumptions regarding possible supplemental general revenue appropriations by the State Legislature.

Commissioners will vote on the preliminary budget during the June 17 meeting in Bonita Springs, Fla. The final budget and tax rates will not be voted on until October, after the initial USDA citrus crop forecast.

About the Florida Citrus Commission

The Florida Citrus Commission is the governing board of the Florida Department of Citrus, an executive agency of the Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. The commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor to represent citrus growers, processors and packers. FDOC activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs nearly 62,000 people and provides an annual economic impact of nearly $10.7 billion to the state. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.