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Last week, the Florida Citrus Commission came together to unanimously pass an emergency rule temporarily amending the minimum Brix level for the remainder of this growing season.

While we heard a couple different proposals during the emergency meeting, we felt this proposal potentially provided relief for our growers while we continue to recover from a challenging 2022, but it does not put extra strain on others that are so vital to our industry, such as packers and processors. The FCPA did not believe this rule would have a negative impact on orange juice in the immediate time frame, and that certainly factored into the decision.

It’s important for us to work together to assist our friends within the industry and those individuals and companies in our communities that also benefit from the citrus industry. That’s why it’s important for us as a Commission to fully evaluate and address immediate needs while also being mindful of our long-term goals, the main one being to ensure this industry’s future.

We continue to see strong results from the research surrounding new and advancing technologies to protect our groves, and just earlier this week the FDOC, FCPA and Florida Citrus Mutual held an orange juice standards workshop to discuss the standards of identity for citrus and possible requests to the FDA to amend those standards. There is true potential for all of these to have long-term, positive impacts for the entire citrus industry here in Florida.

The FCC is dedicated to you. We are dedicated to this industry. It is our livelihoods, our families, our friends and our communities. These aren’t just the lives we chose, they’re the lives we love. And that is why we will always do what’s best for this industry.

Steve Johnson is Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, which oversees the Florida Department of Citrus. He is the owner and general manager of Johnson Harvesting, Inc., based in Wauchula, FL.