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The May forecast estimated Florida Orange production at 96.4 million boxes

BARTOW, Fla. – A report issued Tuesday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a decrease in this season’s Florida Orange crop, dropping production below 100 million boxes.

The May forecast estimated Florida Orange production for the 2014-15 season at 96.4 million boxes, a decrease of nearly six million boxes since the previous report.

Florida Grapefruit production was estimated at 12.9 million boxes, down from 13 million.

According to Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Doug Ackerman, the orange drop was larger than anticipated but “still well within our capacity to absorb” within the current budget year, which ends June 30, 2015.

The FDOC, which is funded by box taxes paid by the state’s citrus growers, serves as the chief marketing and promotion arm for the industry.

Ackerman noted that the Department’s budget was based on an internal estimate of 100 million boxes, and uncommitted funds and reserves within the current budget will account for the $1.2 million decrease implicated in the May forecast.

However, he went on to shift attention from the FDOC budget to the men and women who fund it: “The more pressing matter, of course, is what this drop means to the bottom line of Florida’s citrus growers. There’s nothing abstract about the numbers in this forecast. This is Florida’s signature agricultural product. It remains imperative that our state’s advocates in Tallahassee and in Washington, D.C. continue to provide every form of assistance at their disposal to support an industry that has contributed so significantly to the state’s economy. This is an exceedingly challenging time for Florida Citrus, and all of us in the industry are committed to doing whatever we can to survive and, ultimately, thrive.”

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its 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, provides an annual economic impact of nearly $10.7 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.