How did Hurricane Irma impact Florida Citrus groves?
Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida on Sept. 10, 2017 and had a devastating impact on the Florida Citrus industry. Florida growers across the state reported 30 to 70 percent crop loss causing an estimated $760 million in damages to the state’s citrus groves. Prior to Hurricane Irma, Florida was expected to produce about 75 million boxes of oranges in the 2017/18 season, according to private estimates. The last USDA production forecast of the season placed Florida Orange production at 44.95 million boxes in July, a decrease of nearly 35 percent over the previous season.
Florida Citrus growers have faced numerous challenges in the past, including freezes and hurricanes, but they are resilient and have always recovered. Florida growers look forward to this new season; private estimates for the 2018 season report the potential of 70 million boxes of oranges. The USDA releases its first crop estimate of the 2018/19 season on Oct. 11, 2018.
What Florida Citrus areas in the state were most affected?
Due to the size and path of the storm, the entire Florida Citrus industry was affected. The southern Florida Citrus areas were affected the most but the damage is wide spread across the state.
How important is the Florida Citrus industry to the state of Florida?
The Florida Citrus industry contributes $8.6 billion to the state of Florida and supports 45,000 jobs. Learn more here.
Will the price of orange juice increase due to Hurricane Irma?
According to Nielsen retail sales data, total orange juice prices rose by 15 cents, or 2 percent, since Hurricane Irma. With supply affected, this slight increase was not unexpected. However, many grocery stores prices remain unchanged.
What are the next steps for Florida Citrus growers?
The Florida Citrus industry has worked with state and federal agencies to secure assistance for growers to help with recovery efforts. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed federal disaster relief as part of a larger spending bill in February. In April, the USDA announced it would implement disaster payments of up to $2.36 billion in response to 2017 hurricanes and wildfires. Until November 16, 2018, eligible growers can apply to receive initial payments to cover up to 50 percent of crop loss.
Many growers were able to replant trees and will be eligible to receive the aid they need to continue family legacies of growing Florida Citrus. Our growers look forward to a quiet, resilient season this fall.
Florida Citrus growers continue to need America’s support as they rebuild and recover from this devastating storm. Keep buying Florida Orange Juice and fresh Florida Citrus.
How will this impact me and my family?
The Florida Orange Juice and Florida Citrus that you know and love will continue to be at your local grocery stores. Our Florida Citrus growers continue to be committed to providing you with the best tasting and highest quality citrus in the world.