BARTOW, Fla. – The Florida Citrus Commission approved a preliminary 2020-21 operating budget Wednesday for the Florida Department of Citrus of nearly $20 million.
The Department’s total preliminary budget is $19.875 million with an overall budget increase over the previous season of about $4.2 million, largely due to an increase in General Revenue funds.
The budget includes an anticipated $5.650 million general revenue funding from the State of Florida. It also includes $3.565 million in Foreign Agricultural Service Market Access Program funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be used on international programs as well as $275,000 in Agricultural Trade Promotion funds to be used on Fresh Orange programs in Canada and Florida Orange Juice programs in South Korea. The budget is based on an estimate of 67.65 million boxes of oranges and 4.89 million boxes of grapefruit.
The budget remains relatively stable across most areas with the largest changes in expenditures due to a state salary and benefits increase of 3%, which is state mandated and subject to approval by the Governor. If approved, this won’t go into effect until October. There is also an increase to public relations that includes an additional $4 million over the previous season in anticipated general revenue funds.
Commissioners set tax rates in October, after the initial USDA citrus crop forecast. Several factors will be used to determine the appropriate final tax rate for the season, including crop size, import projections, carryover and fund balance. They will then approve a final budget for 2020-21.
By approving a preliminary budget today, Commissioners authorize Department staff to begin work immediately on programs for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. Grower assessments will not be collected until after the rate is set in October.
A full domestic marketing plan will be presented to commissioners in September, though activation will begin this summer with a continued push to drive sales of orange juice through e-commerce channels.
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 37,000 people and provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 billion to the state. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.