TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam called for increased funding to fight citrus greening, which is threatening to decimate Florida’s famed citrus crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture revised its estimate today for the 2014-15 harvest season to 103 million boxes of oranges, a decline from the forecast released in 2014.
“Now is the time to put all the resources we can toward fighting citrus greening,” said Commissioner Putnam. “We must do what we can to save Florida’s signature crop, an industry that generates $9 billion in annual economic impact and supports 76,000 jobs for Floridians.”
The USDA announcement at noon today estimates 103 million boxes of oranges will be harvested this season, down from the forecast of 108 million boxes announced in 2014 and also a decline from the 104 million boxes produced in 2014, the lowest on record. This represents a total decline of 60 percent since the peak of citrus production at 254 million boxes in 1997-98.
“State and federal governments, along with Florida’s citrus growers, have dedicated more than $230 million to support research over the past decade, and there are some promising leads,” Commissioner Putnam said. “I’ve requested an additional $18 million from the state this year to continue in-depth research, grow clean citrus stock, and replant where diseased trees have been removed.”
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.