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The Florida Citrus industry has a longstanding history of collaboration – both in times of prosperity and loss. Take the Florida Citrus Commission for example. Formed in 1935, the Commission was a direct result of industry consensus for the need to protect and preserve Florida Citrus. The industry rallied together to transform the future of this industry.

Today, teamwork remains critical as we continue to face challenges brought on by HLB. Fortunately, we have strong growers, strong researchers, strong marketers, and strong policy advocates in place. But it is when these strong teams work in conjunction that we truly see the benefit. That’s why it is vital that we all communicate, learn from each other, and remain united as we carve a path forward for this industry.

At the Florida Department of Citrus, work continues to support consumer demand, which remains at a higher rate than most previous years. The Department’s eCommerce program has driven $37.6 million in attributed sales of Florida Orange Juice since July. This number exceeds the season’s annual goal of $30 million.

On the fresh side, the Department is promoting Florida Oranges, Florida Grapefruit, and Florida Tangerines to consumers in the U.S. through programs supported by funding from the State. By highlighting how Florida’s unique climate and grower heritage make Florida Citrus stand out from the rest, including its naturally sweet flavors and immune-supporting nutrients, these programs are reminding consumers to seek out Florida for the best citrus experience. This messaging is being shared on social media (have you “liked” Florida Citrus or Florida Grapefruit on Facebook yet?) and through influencer partnerships that launch in the coming weeks.

Additionally, an eCommerce program through Kroger and Instacart driving sales of Florida Grapefruit is live now along with paid advertisements to drive awareness and foster consumer relationships. This program has generated more than $34,000 in attributed sales by mid-January with more updates to come.

The Florida Citrus Commission doesn’t meet this month but join us on March 16 at 9 a.m. in Bartow for updates on all FDOC programs.

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.