46 million boxes of Florida Oranges; 4.65 million boxes of Florida Grapefruit
BARTOW – For the first time this season, Florida Citrus production is expected to remain stable, according to the USDA forecast released Friday, yet the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma still remains.
“Florida continues to face its lowest citrus forecast in more than 75 years,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus. “While the temporary comfort of a stable forecast gives us a moment to breathe it doesn’t hide the fact that this industry remains in crisis due to the impact of Hurricane Irma.”
The USDA report predicts Florida Orange production for 2017-18 at 46 million boxes of oranges, a 33 percent decrease over last season. Florida Grapefruit is expected to produce 4.65 million boxes, a decrease of 40 percent. Florida was expected to produce about 75 million boxes of oranges this season, according to private estimates.
The Florida Citrus industry continues to seek consideration for federal emergency funding to support growers impacted by the hurricane. In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an $81 billion disaster spending bill, which included $2.6 billion for agricultural assistance. Florida growers reported 30 to 70 percent crop loss after Hurricane Irma’s landfall on September 10, with the southwest region of the state receiving the most damage. The hurricane uprooted trees and left many groves sitting in standing water for up to three weeks, potentially damaging the root systems and impacting future seasons’ growth.
In October, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that Florida Citrus sustained more than $760 million in damages due to Hurricane Irma.
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 45,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $8.6 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.