Grower assessment tax rates remain unchanged from the previous season
BARTOW, Fla. – The Florida Citrus Commission approved a 2017-18 budget for the Florida Department of Citrus Wednesday, maintaining grower tax rates at the same level as the previous season but reducing overall revenue and expenditures.
The Department’s total budget is $17.8 million, reflecting a budget reduction of $4.6 million, or 21 percent, over 2016-17. The budget is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate released earlier this month of 54 million boxes of oranges and 4.9 million boxes of grapefruit. With crop size expected to decrease further as the full extent of Hurricane Irma’s impact on Florida’s Citrus industry is realized, the budget includes higher than normal reserves to offset future reductions.
Commissioners voted to maintain tax assessment rates at $.07 per box of processed oranges, processed grapefruit, fresh grapefruit and all specialty citrus. Fresh oranges will be assessed at $.05 per box.
The budget also includes $3.9 million in Foreign Agricultural Service Market Access Program funds from the USDA to be used on international programs, $4.65 million general revenue funding from the State of Florida and $3.2 million of FDOC fund balance.
Budget reductions reflect decreases in administrative, scientific research, economic and market research as well as global marketing programs.
“While our growers continue to recover from Hurricane Irma, we remain committed to implementing programs around the globe that showcase exactly why Florida Citrus is worth fighting for – great taste, premium quality and a bounty of nutritional benefits,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the FDOC. “This industry has faced many challenges over the years and we always overcome. This time will be no different.”
About the Florida Citrus Commission
The Florida Citrus Commission is the governing board of the Florida Department of Citrus, an executive agency of the Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. The commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor to represent citrus growers, processors and packers. FDOC activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs more than 45,000 people and provides an annual economic impact of $8.6 billion to the state. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.