December citrus forecast projects decrease in production

The report predicts a 5 million box drop in Florida’s orange production, to 69 million boxes.

BARTOW, Fla. – In its third forecast of the season, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a decline in Florida’s citrus production.

The report predicts a 5 million box drop in the state’s orange production, to 69 million boxes, along with a slight decrease in grapefruit. If the forecast is realized, Florida Orange production will be down nearly 30 percent over last season.

“It is still early in the season and we have learned that forecasts can be fluid,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the FDOC. “Here at the Department, we continue to remain focused on supporting the efforts of our growers through impactful programs that promote Florida Citrus as a healthy and delicious part of everyday life. Florida Citrus is a premium product valued by consumers around the world and this forecast does not change that.”

The decrease in grapefruit production brings this season’s projection to 11.5 million boxes, according to the report.

“Not unexpected, these numbers reflect what we’ve been hearing from grapefruit growers throughout the state,” said Michael Schadler, director of international marketing at the FDOC. “As peak season approaches, growers continue to be very happy with the eating quality of this year’s grapefruit crop and the Department remains dedicated to promoting their signature product to consumers around the world.”

The FDOC, which is funded by box taxes paid by the state’s citrus growers, will absorb a projected loss of $1.3 million in revenue due to the forecast.

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.